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BOSTON -- The Billerica Police Department's first openly gay officer has been chosen to receive the Gay Officers Action League of New England's highest honor due to his involvement in Billerica CARES and his push in June for a local gay-pride celebration.
Sgt. Gerald "Jerry" Roche Jr., a 22-year veteran of the Billerica force, will be given the Robert Ian Schlessinger Memorial Award at GOAL's annual ceremony on Sept. 12 in Boston.
"Sgt. Roche works very hard for this community. I'm happy for him and congratulate him for this accomplishment," Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa said.
The award is named after Boston's first openly gay police officer, Robert Ian Schlessinger, who was one of GOAL's founding members and worked tirelessly for equal rights for New England's gay and lesbian police officers. Schlessinger died from complications of AIDS in 1999.
Members of GOAL and other national groups meet at the annual banquet in Boston to discuss common concerns within the public-safety community and to honor those people who have made a significant difference for the lives of gay and lesbian public servants.
GOAL President David Granese, a lieutenant in the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department, said he nominated Roche for the award because "what he did in such a small community is unheard of. It's huge."
Granese said he was impressed last February by Roche's involvement in Billerica CARES, a newly formed committee dedicated to honoring aqnd celebrating diversity in the schools and town.
The goal of the program is to start an active campaign to stop and interrupt prejudice, stop bullying and speak out against harassment and intimidation, especially when that behavior is targeted at someone because of the color of his or her skin, ethnicity, religion or sexuality.
Then in June, Roche was at the forefront of a controversy urging the Billerica selectmen to support a proclamation recognizing Gay Pride Week. Roche spoke publicly about how he was moved that a majority of selectmen voted to support the proclamation, but angry that two selectmen -- Marc Lombardo and Mike Rosa -- refused to sign the proclamation.
On June 14, Roche was among those who celebrated the first Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered Interfaith Pride service at the First Parish Church on Billerica Common.
The gay-pride event at the church was the "icing on the cake," Granese said.
Roche admitted that he initially took some grief from fellow officers when he "came out" two decades ago. But over the years, Roche, who has been decorated by the governor, twice by the selectmen, and has received several commendations from the chief, said the ignorance is dissipating. He said the younger officers don't give these issues a second glance.
"I am not the gay cop," he said. "I am a police officer who happens to be gay."
LOWELL SUN
 
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Re: GOAL Honors For Billerica Sergeant

"I am not the gay cop," he said. "I am a police officer who happens to be gay."
Then why do you find it necessary to tell everyone about it? Shut up already....no one cares.

I think I'm going to start the Heterosexual Officers Legislative Effort to recognize straight officers and their pro-heterosexual work.

Who's with me to start HOLE? :rolleyes:
 
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Re: GOAL Honors For Billerica Sergeant

First off: I could really care less if someone is gay, straight, bi, whatever. What you do in your home is your business and no one else's. Likewise, if someone beats the crap out of someone else solely because the victim is gay, the assailant is a sick fuck who should be punished severely.
Does it really matter what the motive is?

Someone who beats the crap out of another person should be punished severely no matter what the motivation is. When you specify harsher penalties for certain motives, that opens up Pandora's box and is one step from thought crimes.
 
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Re: GOAL Honors For Billerica Sergeant

Consider the guy who beat the crap out of the store employee not too long ago because the guy tried to diddle his kid. Given his motivation I personally would grant him some leeway. Probably a great deal of leeway
To me, that's not even a crime. He was preventing the escape of someone who just committed a felony (Indecent A&B on a Child) right in front of him.

And using the logic of hate crimes, shouldn't the father have been charged with gay bashing because scumbag fondled someone of the same gender, indicating his sexual preference?
 

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Re: GOAL Honors For Billerica Sergeant

Then why do you find it necessary to tell everyone about it? Shut up already....no one cares.

I think I'm going to start the Heterosexual Officers Legislative Effort to recognize straight officers and their pro-heterosexual work.

Who's with me to start HOLE? :rolleyes:
Sounds like something Jerry Williams (the talk show host, not the horrible swedish rock singer) would start. No more of an Alan Shepherd type thing.
 
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