In celebration of National Coming Out Day, The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office announced on Friday the formation of its LGBTQ+ Task Force.
The task force is the latest addition to District Attorney John Cruezot’s group of community engagement programs including the Community Advisory Board and the Youth Advisory Council.
Cruezot said he and his team are using the task force to tackle the violence committed against LGBTQ+ people across Dallas County by assigning these cases to a small team of specialized prosecutors.
“The task force supports those prosecutors indirectly in various ways – but just as importantly, their work supports LGBTQ+ citizens directly by making sure they are respected and heard in this office,” Cruezot said in a release. “I am proud that so many of my colleagues stepped forward to help, and I am proud that many of them are not LGBTQ+ but joined because they saw the need.”
According to the district attorney’s website, the task force works to ensure that all residents of Dallas County are treated with fairness and dignity by the criminal justice system. The members are tasked with ensuring all Dallas County residents are able to seek help from law enforcement with fear of discrimination.
Officials said the task force is composed of more than 25 members of the DA’s office, including prosecutors from all divisions, advocates and support staff. The group has been meeting since July and has been working on multiple projects including office-wide training on LGBTQ+ cultural competency and approaches on how to name transgender defendants in criminal indictments.
Phillip Clark, the DA’s liaison for the LGBTQ+ community, said in a release the DA’s office formed the task force to take a hard look at how it and the justice system operate, identify where they fail this part of the community and develop solutions that provide equality.
The group’s members also serve as a resource for prosecutors and investigators who may have questions about an LGBTQ+ related thread in a case, trial or investigation.