The concept of an LGBTQ Police Liaison program can be hard for some folks to swallow. The history of the LGBTQ community and how they’ve interacted with the police force has more bruises than gold stars and it’s easy to dismiss supportive steps as PR moves.
That’s not to say other local LGBTQ Liaison programs lack integrity, but Norfolk’s new program, and the man they have heading it, stands out from the rest because the new liaison is actually gay.
Born in New Brunswick, Canada (yes, he said aboot in our interview a few times), Sergeant Craig Lovelace (pictured above) started off his policing career as part of the military police with our neighbors to the north. He served at a number of bases around Canada before joining the New Brunswick Highway Patrol.
“There was a lot of respect for law enforcement,” Lovelace said of working in the rural Canadian province. “And people might fight to try and get away, but they wouldn’t try and fight to hurt you.”
He left the police force in the late 80′s to return to school and and ended up in Norfolk for a vacation. He was only in the Commonwealth for a bit, but he returned home only to find himself missing the people and the water.
“That time of year, it was so very cold in May up north in Canada, and when I came down here people were already swimming in the bay,” he said. “I really liked the climate change and the people. I thought the area was really nice.”
Evidently it was nice enough to inspire him to transfer to Old Dominion University. Never finished, but instead returned to what he loved – policing.
“I missed helping people in need of law enforcement services and was quickly running out of money,” he said. He went into the Norfolk Police Department as a recruit. He patrolled the streets for four years before going back to the academy as an instructor. After two years there, he returned to the streets for two more years before getting promoted to Corporal, then Sergeant where he ended up in administrative duty.