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FARMINGTON — Members of the local law enforcement community showed up for an appreciation event hosted by a Farmington nonprofit organization to thank them for their support.

Bridging the Gap, a law enforcement appreciation day, was held Wednesday afternoon at Identity Inc., a LGBTQ community center in downtown Farmington. It operates as a safe place for the LGTBQ community.

The nonprofit served pizza and donuts donated by local businesses during the event.

The event provided an opportunity for community members to speak to area law enforcement and provide police with information on the resources the nonprofit offers, according to Donald Stage, treasurer for the Identity Inc. board of directors.

Stage said the nonprofit wanted to show appreciation to local law enforcement as he believes there can be a negative relationship between the LGBTQ community and police.

"We have a very supportive relationship and they are very helpful to us. That's not the case in a lot of places," Stage said.

James Penrod, board president, said members of the Farmington and Bloomfield police departments, the San Juan County Adult Detention Center along with local city and county officials attended the event.

Farmington Police Chief Steve Hebbe spoke to The Daily Times at the event about his department's relationship with the nonprofit.

He said he appreciated Identity Inc. hosting an event for law enforcement.

The nonprofit has a very positive relationship with Farmington police due in part to Hebbe's efforts to work with group, according to Stage.

Hebbe stated he had a close relationship with former board president Judy Palier, who helped found the nonprofit. She died in October 2017.

Members of the nonprofit attended Farmington police briefings last week to share information on the resources at Identity Inc.

Farmington's was also one of the first police departments in the state to take part in transgender training a few years ago.

Officers have in the past also hosted self-defense classes for clients of the nonprofit, Penrod said.

Stage said Identity Inc. will continue to develop its relationships with area law enforcement.

Those interested in the nonprofit's operations, or who want to donate can visit Identity Inc.'s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IdentityIncFarmington/ or call 505-427-3383.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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