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AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — Aurora will welcome its Pride Parade back in less than three weeks – but law enforcement officers have been told they won’t be able to participate if they are dressed in uniform.
As CBS 2’s Meredith Barack reported, the organizers for the parade made the decision Tuesday that law enforcement officers may participate – but without weapons, uniforms, or individual vehicles. The parade is set for June 12.
“I’m disappointed,” said Aurora police Sgt. Lee Catavu.
Catavu spearheaded the Aurora Police Department’s LGBTQ+ liaison program and is a member of the LGBTQ+ community himself.
“I think it’s another opportunity lost, where we can highlight all the positive inroads that the police department have made with all different communities,” he said.
Organizers sent us a news release reading in part, “many members of the community feel uneasy in the presence of official law enforcement vehicles, as well as uniformed officers, due to negative experiences they themselves or someone they know have had.”
The organizers did allow uniformed police officers during the 2018 and 2019 pride parades in Aurora. But they said in 2022, the climate has shifted – and community members are more strained than they were three years ago.
Catavu says the irony is not lost on him that officers are being told they can participate – but only if they conceal who they are.
“But nevertheless, we are going to continue to do everything we can to maintain the positive relationships that we have with the LGBTQ+ community,” Catavu said.
There will be uniformed officers and vehicles present outside the parade route.
So far, only one law enforcement official has applied to participate in the parade itself.