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Atlanta police LGBT liaison Patrica Powell profiled

Atlanta Police Department LGBT liaison Officer Patricia Powell

After a three-year stint in the Army, Patricia Powell was managing her brother’s barbecue restaurant, Hecky’s in Evanston, Ill., when she got a phone call from her sister in Atlanta.

“She said I should move down here, they were hiring police officers. I said, ‘Me, a police officer?’ She said you’d be good, you’re in shape,” Powell said.

Powell, who played basketball for the Army (position: guard), was ready to move from the cold climate of Chicago and the restaurant business and try something new.

So at 35 she packed her bags, moved to Atlanta and began the process of becoming an APD officer. Some 11 years later, she was named the department’s LGBT liaison officer.

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Gay couple attacked in Piedmont Park

Robbery in Piedmont Park

Atlanta Police Department Officer Patricia Powell, the recently appointed LGBT liaison, said she is considering offering a safety course to gay Midtown residents after a gay couple was robbed at gunpoint in Piedmont Park.

“I don’t know if gay people are being targeted,” Powell said Tuesday.

But she noted the July 2 armed robbery of Rev. Joshua Noblitt of Saint Mark United Methodist Church and his partner, as well as reports of anti-gay epithets used during a series of fights and disturbances by young people at the June 3 Screen on the Green in the park.

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Atlanta Police to form LGBT Advisory Board

The Atlanta Police Department is seeking nominations for a nine-member LGBT advisory board, the department announced today. Nominations and those interested in serving must be made by Friday, July 16.

"As I begin to do important work with this position, it will be vital that I hear directly from our community on an ongoing basis," said the APD LGBT liaison Officer Patricia Powell in a statement.

Nominations are being sought from the local LGBT community as a way to create an ongoing dialogue and better improving relations and understanding, according to a press release.

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Atlanta police want to sweeten relationship with LGBT community

Atlanta's new LGBT Liaison Officer Patricia Powell

Senior Patrol Officer Patricia Powell, the new LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department, has stopped in at least one gay-owned business to introduce herself as part of her new duties.

“My initial thought [of Powell] is I’m impressed,” said Philip Rafshoon, owner of Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse, who said Powell dropped into his store about two weeks ago and also attended the Pearl Cleage reading on May 20.

Mayor Kasim Reed pledged earlier this year that Atlanta would have at least two fulltime LGBT police liaisons, but confusion remains as to whether Powell’s appointment truly fulfills that goal.

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It will take more than a breakfast to restore trust in APD’s LGBT liaison

The image on this week’s cover — a cop offering up rainbow doughnuts — both symbolizes and satirizes the Atlanta Police Department’s efforts to get back in the good graces of the city’s LGBT communities.

Like most police departments, the APD has faced tensions with LGBT residents through the years. The appointment of a full-time LGBT liaison within the department in 2004 was intended to create a direct link between the two sides.