The Atlanta Police Department issued a press release this afternoon about its new LGBT liaison including a statement from Chief George Turner praising Senior Patrol Officer Brian Sharp for his service in the unit for the past four years.

The release in full:

The Atlanta Police Department has named Officer C.J. Murphy as the newest LGBT liaison to serve the citizens of Atlanta.  Officer Murphy will join Officer Eric King as one of two LGBT liaisons for the Department. She replaces Senior Police Officer Brian Sharp, who is moving on to serve in Zone 5.

“SPO Brian Sharp took the job at a difficult time in our history, and has served honorably and admirably,” said Chief George Turner. “His dedication to building trust and establishing open dialogue with community members has been invaluable. The Atlanta Police Department is better-trained and more aware of LGBT issues thanks to the work he has done.”

Officer Murphy, a native of Conyers, Ga., joined the APD in 2010 and has served in Zone 5, the Community Oriented Policing Section, School Detectives, and in the Gang Unit.

“I’m looking forward to this new opportunity to serve the LGBT community in the City of Atlanta as well as within APD,” said Officer Murphy. “It is important that our department reflect the demographics of our city, so as a member of the gay community, I take pride in continuing the strong legacy of cooperation between LGBT citizens and the APD. The LGBT liaisons are instrumental in helping foster those partnerships that are vitally important to our mission at the Atlanta Police Department.”

“We’ve made great strides in strengthening our relationship with the LGBT community and I expect Officer Murphy will keep up the great work already done by our previous liaisons,” said Chief Turner. “I am confident that Officer Murphy will excel in her new position.”

Officer Murphy attended Georgia Southern University where she received her bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. Prior to joining the APD, Officer Murphy worked in banking, but always wanted to be in law enforcement.

The Atlanta Police Department’s LGBT liaisons’ have a multi-fold mission of improving communications and relationships with the community as well as increasing awareness, training and knowledge of LGBT issues within the department.

When asked by GA Voice to explain Sharp’s reassignment, APD spokesperson Elizabeth Espy said the transfer was part of a comprehensive transfer and promotion order.

“SPO Sharp’s transfer was part of a comprehensive transfer and promotion order that was signed by Chief Turner on Dec. 24 and takes effect tomorrow. We have inter-departmental transfers regularly and this order will result in the transfers and promotions of more than 70 officers.

“It is worth noting that transfers take place because Chief Turner wants to keep a vibrant and engaged department,” she said. “When people are put into new positions they are able to bring fresh thinking as well as a critical eye in which to provide a new perspective. The APD has many LGBT personnel who are willing and capable of being an effective liaison.”

Sharp found about about his reassignment on Christmas Eve and wrote on his Facebook page:

“It is with much sadness that I write this update. I just got the official word that I am being transferred out of my current position. I just want to say to all my friends and family in the LGBT community in this great city, what a true honor and privilege it has been to serve you. You all have stood by me, supported me, and above all believed in me more than I could have ever dreamed of. At times, more than I believed in myself. We saw one another through tough times. We have laughed, cried, and grown in many ways together over the last four years. We haven’t always agreed on everything, but we have always worked towards the common goal of equality for all. We have worked together and we have brought about true change. I am a better person having known each and every one of you. You all have become my friends, and allowed me to be a part of your family. For that I am truly grateful. Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you all. Brian”

Sharp was appointed to the position in the fall of 2010 and was a speaker at the recent Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil on Nov. 20 at the Phillip Rush Center, where he talked about the department’s recent addition of “transgender interactions” into their Standard Operating Procedure.

Sharp also received criticism recently due to a Facebook post in reaction to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.

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