The Tampa Police Department recently unveiled a new commemorative badge for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, celebrated annually in June. In a video shared by the agency, an officer claimed the badge serves “as a symbol of our department’s commitment to serving members of the LGBTQ+ community with understanding.” The officer added, “By fostering open communication, we can make sure that everyone feels comfortable reaching out to police whenever they need help.”

While the department seems preoccupied with flaunting its virtue signaling, the real issue of rising violence is being sidelined. Tampa’s crime index is a concerning 16 out of 100, indicating it is safer than only 16% of U.S. cities. The city faces nearly 10,000 annual offenses, including 1,961 violent incidents and 7,714 property crimes. With increasing threats plaguing Tampa, one would think the administration’s priorities should focus more on officer and public safety rather than symbolic gestures.

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This new badge incorporates the Progress Pride flag, created in 2018, and includes the original rainbow design and a five-color chevron representing people of color and the transgender community.

Yet, in the face of real danger, the Tampa Police Department’s fixation on symbolic gestures over genuine safety measures is alarming. The community needs effective policing, not badges that serve more as a PR stunt than a tool for protection.

The badge is one of nine options that department members can collect or wear during June. While officers collect these symbols, one can’t help but wonder if the administration’s priorities have been misplaced. With danger on the rise, the focus should be on tangible actions that ensure the safety of the public and the officers, not on collecting badges for appearance.

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