Denver police enlist businesses to protect people from anti-LGBTQ harassment

The Denver Police Department is asking businesses to help people escape harassment.

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The Denver Police Department is asking businesses to help people escape harassment. A new program, DPD Safe Place, encourages businesses to post stickers with a rainbow police badge.

Those stickers declare that a business is a “SAFE PLACE,” where anyone experiencing anti-LGBTQ harassment can call 911 and wait for police. The stickers also are a symbol for anyone else experiencing harassment, according to police.

“It is providing a physical safe space to the victim and encouraging reporting of these crimes,” said Lt. Michael Wyatt, the Denver Police Department’s liaison to the LGBTQ community.

In announcing the program, DPD noted that cities “throughout the U.S. are experiencing an increase in Bias motivated crimes,” though stats for Denver weren’t immediately available.

About a dozen businesses were enrolled as of the program’s launch today, including the Blush & Blu Nightclub and the Corner Bakery Cafe.

Before receiving the sticker, the businesses must agree to shelter victims of harassment and other crime — as long as it’s safely possible. “We’re just telling them, use their own common sense,” he said.

Businesses and schools can request the stickers by emailing Lt. Michael Wyatt, the department’s official LGBTQ liaison, or by calling him at 720-913-2800.

The program was inspired by the Seattle Police Department’s similar effort, which started in 2015 and now includes 1,600 locations.

We previously profiled Wyatt’s journey to become Denver’s ambassador to the LGBTQ community.