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Columbus Police Producing LGBT-Themed Anti-Bullying Video
COLUMBUS (Lu Ann Stoia/Ken Hines) -- The city's police force is joining the fight against bullying of LGBT youths by teaming with a local college to produce a public service announcement.
A spokesperson for Columbus Division of Police Chief Kim Jacobs said the department is "not prepared to go public" with details about the video, but ABC 6/FOX 28 obtained a division-wide email sent by Chief Jacobs that included a statement about the project.
“In law enforcement, one of the most important things we do is protect those who cannot protect themselves," Chief Jacobs wrote in the email. “Over the last few months, the Division has partnered with the Columbus College of Art and Design, to develop the first, of what I hope will be many, videos to be used as public service announcements on our web site.
"This first video was inspired by a San Francisco PD video that was posted to a web site called ‘It Gets Better….’geared toward helping LGBT youth who are being bullied.”
In the email, Chief Jacobs -- who is openly gay -- says the effort is an important first step in the department's upcoming anti-bullying initiative.
Some rank and file officers have expressed concerns about the project, however, including fears they could be passed over for promotions if they refuse to participate in the video.
Fraternal Order of Police President Jason Pappas acknowledged the officers' concerns, but does not currently consider the video to be a union issue.
Also expressing concerns about the PSA is Alkire Road Church of Christ Mark Bass, who said he's watched the San Francisco PD video, and believes it advocates a homosexual lifestyle while doing little to discourage bullying.
“I didn’t see it as a bullying video, it was a pro-gay and lesbian commercial,” he said.
Bass said he's also concerned the possible inclusion of on-duty officers will result in the video being "funded by taxpayers."
The minister plans to include a post about the project in his upcoming church bulletin, and said he will encourage the video's opponents to make their feelings known to Columbus city officials.
A CCAD spokesperson confirmed the school's participation in the project. The video is expected to be released on the evening of June 7, 2013, according to Chief Jacobs's email.