Len Broberg, 50, is a frequent emcee at lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community fundraisers across the Bay Area, says the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, CA. An 11-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, Broberg is one of only 20 gay officers on a force of 2,000. In a city that is 10 to 20 percent gay, San Francisco recruiters are making a special push to find more gay candidates as part of an overall effort to replace at least 700 retiring baby boomers in the next five years.
“We want the number of gay officers to reflect the city’s overall gay population,” said Broberg, co-chairman of the department’s Pride Alliance, a group that advocates for the hiring and promotion of LGBT officers. So far, recruiting in the gay community has been difficult for many reasons, from fear of discrimination to stereotypes about the suitability of gays for the job. Promotions are rare because the AIDS crisis in the 1980s left the department with few senior gay officers. “People are not lining up,” said Police Commissioner Theresa Sparks. “It’s an issue of whether or not (police work) is an attractive profession for gay men.”