A first for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. They will show their support for the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender community by marching in the pride parade on Saturday.
We're all used to seeing the motorcycle drill team in the Indianapolis 500 Parade and the mounted units at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, but for the first time ever our officers will actually be participating in the Gay Pride Parade.
Indy's Gay Pride Parade has come a long way since 2005 when it featured one float and a few drag queens. Fast forward six years, and spectators can expect to see hundreds of attractions, crowds in the thousands and now members of our city's finest marching right in the middle of the action.
The uniformed officers will be riding in the department issued Humvee and have specific direction to not decorate the car, change the car in any way or add anything to their uniforms.
But the fact that the officers will be participating while on the clock is troubling some. "The majority of Hoosiers and probably the majority of folks in Indianapolis if they actually went to the Gay Pride Parade and see the activities that goes on there would be shocked to see our taxpayer dollars going to have our men and women in uniform through the police and fire department march in that kind of a parade," says Ryan McCann of The Indiana Family Institute.
McCann says our officers are hired to protect and serve, not to endorse an alternative lifestyle."They don't sign up for gay pride parades and all that entails with men in police uniforms being howled at by homosexuals."
IMPD spokesperson Linda Jackson says the department doesn't think having officers march in the parade is controversial. "I don't think its an issue of the politics or an issue of anything like that. This is a parade that we would participate in. Anybody who's going to be there is there through the course of their employment in the department."In actuality, IMPD officers have participated in the parade and festival activities for many years in a volunteer capacity. I know this will come as a shock to the Indiana Family Institute, but there are a fair number of IMPD officers who are gay and lesbian. If anyone has any complaints about IMPD's participation in any special cultural events, it should be Black Expo's Summer Celebration, an event that draws fewer people but requires taxpayers to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to pay overtime to provide extra police protection to control the mayhem that ensues like clockwork every year when that event takes over downtown for a week, frightening away many people from patronizing downtown businesses, some of which would just as soon close down while the event is going on to avoid all of the criminal problems associated with it. Despite the Circle City Pride event being the largest downtown event next to the 500 Festival Parade, police report few, if any, arrests during the event. Downtown businesses actual welcome this event because it brings lots of people into the downtown area that help fill up the hotels and spend money in restaurants and stores.
UPDATE: As usual, Mayor Greg Ballard will avoid the Circle City Pride celebration like the plague. It's just pure stupidity for a big city mayor to skip year after year one of the biggest summer events in his city. His Democratic opponent, Melina Kennedy, will not only be in the parade but mingle at the festival like she did last year. He broadcasts loud and clear that he is not comfortable representing all of the people who live in his city despite his claimed desire to make the city more culturally diverse by his pronounced aversion to this event. Here's his schudule for Saturday: