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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 22, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 21
Co-founder of first Gay police association dies - Sam Ciccone was 71
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Co-founder of first Gay police association dies - Sam Ciccone was 71

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Sam Ciccone, co-founder of the first LGBT police association in the United States, died of heart disease May 10. He was 71. Ciccone is survived by his partner Ta-Wei Yu, and three sisters.

Ciccone was one of two original founders of New York City's Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) in 1982. Co-founder Charles H. Cochrane Jr. died in 2008.

At just 20 years of age, Ciccone became a police officer in New Jersey in 1964. Over the next 15 years, he rose to become a detective sergeant, but always kept his sexual orientation a secret from fellow police officers.

He quit the New Jersey Police in 1979 and moved to New York City after New York Mayor Ed Koch signed an executive order banning discrimination on the grounds of 'sexual orientation or affectional preference' in all city agencies, including the police force.

In 1982 Ciccone and Cochrane called a meeting at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Greenwich Village. A dozen other officers showed up and formed GOAL, now recognized as the first LGBTI police association in America.

The organization is still going strong today with over 2,000 members and has inspired dozens of similar organizations across the United States.

Ciccone and GOAL were instrumental in supporting Gay and Lesbian officers on the New York police force, and also in improving relations between the LGBTI community and police in the city.

Ciccone is credited with convincing the organizers of New York's Gay Pride Parade to start securing police permits for the event in the '80s.

Ciccone also helped the New York City Anti-Violence Project write a curriculum for cultural competency trainings for the New York Police Academy, teaching recruits how to work with LGBT crime victims.

When there were spikes of violence against LGBT people in New York in the late '80s and '90s he helped convince NYPD to place additional resources in the Greenwich Village and Chelsea neighborhoods to protect residents and businesses there.

Ciccone went on to earn a law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University and work for the law firm Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik. He was also the author of a play, Nothing to Report, about his experience as a Gay police officer, which ran Off-Broadway in 1987. .

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Co-founder of first Gay police association dies - Sam Ciccone was 71
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