Out Lesbian Becomes Tampa’s Top Cop

Out lesbian Jane Castor has become the chief of police in Tampa, Florida.

There are nine female police chiefs in Florida, including Pinellas Park Chief Dorene Thomas, according to the Florida Police Chiefs Association. Nationwide, about 300 out of 18,000 police chiefs are women, according to women-in-policing expert Dorothy Schulz of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Castor’s promotion had added significance for another reason. Openly gay, she has served for more than six years as a liaison to Tampa’s gay and lesbian community. Brian Winfield, spokesman for Equality Florida, said it was that communication that eventually helped police identify Steven Lorenzo of Seminole Heights as a suspect in the 2003 murders of two gay men. “We think it’s incredible,” Winfield said. “She’s been instrumental in building a bridge of communication, and she’s built a trust that is exceptional and unfortunately rare in the rest of the state.”

Castor: “The significance of being the first female is certainly not lost on me. Frankly, I’d rather be known as a good chief than the first female.”