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Force says most of the grumbling in the department has to do with the proximity of the interview to the sleazo ads in the magazine. "The questions and answers posed were perfectly professional," he says. "I haven't heard many people complain about the Q and A of the article, just the context of the magazine."
The Phoenix Police Department doesn't screen out gay officers, Force says, and "doesn't hold it against them if they are homosexual."
Force says criminal sexual activity is a different matter, but IONAZ is clearly about a lifestyle choice, not illegal behavior. "Homosexuality in our ranks merely reflects the homosexuality that's in the community as a whole," he says. "We try to have equal representation of the community. We think that's the right thing to do."
"If there's any silver lining to this whole cloud," Force notes, "it's that an organization of 2,800 people can still tolerate divergent viewpoints. The administration can OK this because they believe it's the right thing to do while other people can respectfully disagree with that and publish their beliefs."
The Spike thinks the silver lining in all this is Harold Hurtt and the progressive thinking of his command officers, who are running an organization that is often viewed as considerably less tolerant than Force describes.
As Force puts it: "The long and short of it is that it may have been simply as rebellious 50 years ago to have a photo of an African-American officer on the cover of a magazine. Some will say this is another minority group of sorts."
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