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Sheriff on Trial in Forced Resignation of Gay Deputy

June 2, 1992

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Homosexuals can be good law officers, a former top police official has testified in the trial of a lawsuit filed by a former Orange County deputy who is trying to get his job back.

Tom Woodward, who is gay, sued after he was forced to resign his $21,049-a- year job in 1989.

The target of his lawsuit, Sheriff Walt Gallagher, testified Monday he opposed hiring homosexuals for police work because they might contract AIDS, become a target for blackmailers or draw complaints when searching heterosexual suspects.

Miami Beach’s former police chief, Kenneth Glassman, testified he shares none of Gallagher’s concerns about homsexuals.

″They are as qualified as any other group to serve as police officers,″ said Glassman, now a director at a Dade County police school. He said he knew of no threats by blackmailers to expose any officer’s sexual orientation.