BOISE -- The City of Boise's LGBT non-discrimination ordinance took effect on January 1, 2013.
That means big changes for both the LGBTcommunity, including a new advocate in the Boise Police Department.
When the city stepped up and decided to create an ordinance, it was complete elation and joy from the community, said Donna Harwood from Lion's Pride, a local LGBT organization.
Members of Boise's LGBT community met their new voice in the Boise Police Department on Wednesday -- Katie Davey. Davey has held the position since last June. She says the LGBT liaison position was created about six years ago in reaction to a string of hate crimes.
It's time that this community had a voice and an advocate, and I'm prepared to step up and do that, said Davey.
Davey is also a victim witness coordinator, and her specialty is as the LGBT liaison.
Having a specific position for the LGBT liaison is going to be very important in making the LGBT community comfortable in making reports, said Harwood.
As is the case with other crimes, members of the LGBT community who feel they are being discriminated against have to make a police report. Ordinance violations are criminal instead of civil to protect the victims. However, before charges are filed, there will be an effort at mediation to resolve things.
I feel there's going to be a real change, said Harwood. The community feels very excited and grateful to the City of Boise for giving us a voice.
Maryanne Jordan from the Boise city council said she has been contacted by four other Idaho cities about looking into passing an ordinance in their city. She would not say which cities, but said none of them are in the Treasure Valley.
People who are found guilty of violating the ordinance will face a fine and/or jail time under Boise's law.
Boise Police say they have not received any reports violations since it went into effect this year.