>> Jessica Hawkins was a male police officer in Washington DC for 20 years before she transitioned to become a woman in 2014. She stayed with the Metropolitan Police Department, and says her outward change in gender is still sometimes unsettling for her colleagues in blue.>> Officers that used to be my friends, majority of them won't talk to me now.
Unless I'm like, hey how are you doing, they're like, Sergeant, it's very formal.>> Since her transition, Hawkins has become the head of MPD's Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Liaison Unit, helping her department take perhaps the greatest strides anywhere toward building better relations between law enforcement and the transgender community.
Reuters correspondent Daniel Trotta has been examining the strains between trans individuals and cops.>> The police are just reflections of society. So just as there's transphobia in the real world, there's transphobia among cops.>> This bias comes at a cost.>> Only 46% of transgender people report assaults to police.
And of those, 80% of them report being treated hostilely or with mistrust by the police. So there's a great issue of a lack of trust between both communities.>> Transgender activists hope DCs LGBT Liaison Unit could be replicated in other cities across the country. Where complaints from the trans community about police are the norm.
>> We're community outreach. Our job is to build trust so when a transgender woman, or anyone from the LGBT community, is a victim of a crime, or needs a police officer, they're not gonna hesitate to contact any one of our members of the police department. But we have to break down those barriers first and build that trust.