Dallas Police Department forms a quesionable partnership

Many other advocacy groups have called for the Dallas Police Department to end their relationship with First Baptist Church. (Pinterest photo)

A partnership between the Dallas Police Department, and the extremely anti-LGBT Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress is beginning to raise questions about whether homophobia in law enforcement is contributing to a string of unsolved anti-gay hate crimes in the city’s Oak Lawn neighborhood.

Several LGBT groups have called on the Dallas Police Department to end its partnership with Jeffress and his First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Jeffress recently compared pro-LGBT businesses to the terror group, ISIS, during a radio interview with the Family Research Council, which is considered by many to be an anti-LGBT hate group as well.

Meanwhile there have been 18 anti-gay hate crimes reported in Oak Lawn, and some say there are even more that have gone unreported.

The Dallas police have made no arrests at this point.

"The confidence from the LGBT community is just about zero,” Cece Cox, CEO of Dallas' LGBT community center, told KDFW-TV this week. “To have zero arrests, that I’m aware of, and zero legitimate action taken on these crime incidents where people are being brutally injured is really disturbing and raises a lot of questions about [the police department] paying attention.”

Cox also drew a connection between the department's partnership with Jeffress and the anti-gay crime wave in an interview with NBCDFW.com. Under the partnership, announced by police Chief David Brown during a "Back the Blue" rally at the church last month, First Baptist reportedly is providing counseling to Dallas police officers, and allowing their children to attend its Bible camps for free. 

Thus far, Brown hasn't responded to LGBT groups' concerns about the partnership. Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has a mixed record on LGBT issues and also spoke during the "Back the Blue" rally at First Baptist, told NBCDFW.com that Jeffress' recent anti-LGBT remarks "hurt [him] deeply" because, "That's not how Dallas is." But Rawlings is leaving the decision about whether to end the partnership in the hands of Brown. 

A new advocacy group known as ‘Take Back Oak Lawn’ had this to say.

"We find that based on these very public statements, First Baptist Church poses a danger to the safety of a large segment of the Dallas population," Take Back Oak Lawn said in a statement. "We are very concerned that they would inadequately be able to provide fair and unbiased counseling services to officers servicing said population. We implore DPD to seriously reconsider their relationship with FBC and work closely with the communities affected by these disparaging statements to instill confidence that they will be kept safe."

Many other advocacy groups have called for the Dallas Police Department to end their relationship with First Baptist Church.

The Gayly 5/30/2016 @ 4:20 p.m. CDT