- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The nation’s largest sheriff’s department has enacted a new policy requiring deputies to address transgender and gender non-conforming people using their preferred names and pronouns, officials said Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department policy, which went into effect earlier this month, is meant to reinforce practices that are already being widely followed throughout the department, said sheriff’s Lt. Don Mueller.

The policy prohibits deputies from making offensive comments or asking about a person’s gender transition process. It also says deputies cannot disclose that someone is transgender to non-law enforcement personnel, with few exceptions.

“Most of the policies are to help educate our own and some of the policies are basic, but some terms are not appropriate anymore,” Mueller said.

Sheriff’s deputies are also required to address transgender and gender non-conforming people by their preferred name and use the pronoun that corresponds to their gender identify without requiring proof of a name change.

The sheriff’s policy also says transgender or gender non-conforming people can specify the gender of deputies who conduct invasive searches, including strip searches.

During booking procedures, transgender inmates cannot be directed to remove any prosthetics or wigs that non-transgender inmates wouldn’t be required to take off, the policy says.

The Los Angeles Police Department and New York Police Department also have similar policies.

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Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 .

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