Karen Celestino Horesman on Dobkins: did her lesbianism affect her demotion?

Dateline: Wed 20 Jun 2007

Former City-County Council member Karen Celestino Horseman has written a good piece about the demotion of Bettye Dobkins in the new Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for American Values Alliance blog.

Here is the link:

http://www.valuesalliance.org/

The same subject has come up on IndyUndercover. Now when these two very-different-in-tone blogs are in agreement that an injustice has taken place, somebody in the front office better pay attention.

Horseman, an attorney and a Democrat, outlines Dobkins' success as deputy chief of the Downtown district; she talks about the decline in crime under her watch while the district actually grew following consolidation of the sheriff's department and the Indianapolis Police. She speaks to the indication of rank sexism that Dobkins' demotion seems to indicate -- and takes it a step further, wondering if Dobkins' sexuality had any bearing:

"In the eyes of many in the community, Bettye Dobkins had come to represent more than just an accomplished and successful public safety officer. She was among the highest ranking women in the male-dominated, testosterone charged IMPD. Dobkins was the highest ranking woman working outside of IMPD headquarters. The fact that Dobkins could succeed in the IMPD offered inspiration and hope to other women.

"So there you have it, a competent, accomplished and qualified officer was demoted. The stated reason was poor performance but given Dobkins' track record, one has to ask what was the real reason for her demotion?

"While I have not heard this spurred her demotion, Dobkins is a lesbian, something she did not attempt to hide given her long-time relationship with her partner. This probably did not enhance her status among those at the top (particularly as one of those fellows has been heard to make disparaging remarks questioning another male's sexuality when they thought a telephone connection had been broken). What a very discouraging event so soon after the city enacted the Human Rights Ordinance."

I couldn't agree more.

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