by Shaun Knittel -
SGN Associate Editor
The Seattle Police Department employs approximately 1,250 sworn law enforcement officers and 500 civilians.
But there is only one Detective Kim Bogucki, and we are lucky to have her.
The 22-year veteran of the force and out Lesbian (she serves as the liaison between SPD and the LGBT community) spoke with Seattle Gay News about her many years on the force, the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) award she recently received, and her expectations for the LGBT equality movement.
'I deeply appreciate the strides that past LGBT officers have made to make the Seattle Police Department a place where we can all serve with dignity,' Kim told SGN.
Kim's work in the community as an officer and as a civilian has led to her nomination for an award from the GSBA. On February 24, she received the Community Leader of the Year designation from the GSBA for her continued efforts in the Seattle LGBT community.
'I am proud to receive this award from such an amazing group of people working for change and making a difference,' she said. 'I'm partial to this award, above others, because it truly is an honor to be recognized within your own community and to be a part of something you believe in.'
Kim says she has been supporting GSBA events for years. 'As the SPD liaison officer, I have been able to do some collaborative events with the GSBA,' she said. 'I've enjoyed watching them grow as an organization and I think their scholarship program is incredible.'
Aside from her duties on the force, Kim is involved in a number of projects. For example, in her work with the IF Project (www.theifproject.com), Kim works with inmates at the Washington Correction Center for Women in Gig Harbor, where she inspires discussion to help the prisoners not just search themselves to find what could have changed their own lives, but nurtures a larger desire to impart information to help others.
'Through them, we will search for answers as to how to break the chain of felonies that have brought them all in,' she said, 'in the hopes of preventing others from doing the same.'
Being a detective is a labor of love for Kim.
'The reasons why I love being on the force have changed throughout the years,' she said. 'When I first got on, I loved doing patrol, catching bad guys, and keeping people safe. I was getting to act out my childhood superhero fantasies. But in the last 10 years, my focus has changed to more prevention and intervention type police work; working within the community, listening to their ideas in problem solving, and reducing criminal activity.'
Kim says that her methods now are 'based in compassion and a clearer understanding of the help people need to achieve a better life.'
Being a police officer is a tough job. Being an openly Gay or Lesbian cop may prove to be even tougher. But Kim maintains that life on the force isn't so bad after all for LGBT officers. 'As SPD's LGBT liaison officer, I can say that I have not experienced discrimination in my years of policing,' she said.
In fact, Kim says that supervisors and chiefs often attend LGBT community events, in or out of uniform.
'I have traveled to many departments nationwide and have yet to find a department like ours,' she said. 'It's a great job, but not without struggle. As a police officer, we see people at their worst day in and day out. I know that there have been some incidents lately that have not reflected well on the department, but know and believe that an overwhelming majority of the men and women of the department serve the community without incident.'
They serve and protect from their hearts and without the need for public praise or recognition, she said. 'I am proud to be one and to be a part of such an incredible department.'
Kim says she is sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community. 'I worry about the lack of LGBT folks reporting crime,' she admits. 'I do know that there is fear in a number of community members in reporting. I would like to encourage them to try to overcome that fear and let us know if they have been victimized.'
'It saddens me when I hear of things that have happened and that the person didn't want to report it,' she said. 'I am available to assist anyone struggling with this dilemma.'
According to Kim, the best way for our community to make progress is to honor our right to be safe. 'If you're being victimized, step forward and speak up,' she said. 'SPD specifically takes malicious harassment reports very seriously.'
Overall, Kim says she wants what we all want: LGBT equality. 'Above all things, I hope for equal rights pertaining to - but not exclusively to - healthcare, domestic partner benefits, and the right to a non-biased education nationwide. It would be very validating to watch more LGBT people be taken seriously and succeed in the workforce,' she concludes. 'On a personal level, I would love to see Gay marriage become legal and stick within my lifetime.'
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