In November 2005 following a homophobic assault in Missoula, Montana, openly gay police officer Scott Oak volunteered to be a liaison between the GLBTI community and law enforcement there.
Oak’s actions caught the attention of the U.S. State Department. They’ve tapped him to join the police force in Afghanistan for a year to “conduct training in human and civil rights, ethics, diversity and basic police operations” according to The Missoulian.
Oak has served in the U.S. Air Force, and jumped at the unique opportunity.
Said Oak: “It’s just the way I’m hardwired. I come from a background in service with the military and law enforcement. I’m sort of set on offering those services wherever they’re needed. Ideally, I think that by going over there and helping out as a civilian instructor it will make for a smoother transition and allow America to pull out of there more quickly. I want to go experience another culture without breaking my commitment to public service. I think I’ll be fulfilling that by helping to build a police department kind of from the ground up. I could be training police on everything from human rights to building searches. But I think, because of my experience as the GLBTI liaison officer, I’ll be helping to enlighten them about cultural diversity.”
The Mayor of Missoula, John Engen, has promised Oak that his job will be waiting for him when he returns but the more difficult part of the job for the officer will be leaving behind his partner of 12 years and the teenage foster son they’re raising together.
Missoula to Afghanistan: Protect, serve abroad [the missoulian]