Building upon its longstanding tradition of Community Oriented Policing, the Newport Police Department today announced the designation of the City’s first dedicated LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer. 

According to a press release from the Newport Police Department, the position is intended to serve as a point of contact within the Department for members of the City’s LGBTQ+ community and was developed through an ongoing dialogue with the city’s LGBTQ+ advocates from Newport Pride.

Officer Caitlin Poplawski, an eight-year veteran of the Newport Police Department, will be the first to serve in this specialized capacity.  

“We’re very glad to see the City take this step and appreciate Officer Poplawski serving in this role,” Sean O’Connor, Board Member for Newport Pride, shared with What’sUpNewp. “The establishment of this liaison position also will improve Newport’s score on the Human Rights Commission’s Municipal Equality Index, which tracks communities support for LGBTQ rights”. 

Officer Poplawski, along with several other members of the Newport Police Department, will be hosting an open forum with Newport Pride, Inc., sometime after the New Year to introduce herself to the community, and all will be welcome to attend, according to the press release from Newport Police Department.  

“We also want people to know that while being in touch with the LGBTQ+ liaison is intended to be a safe space to turn to for reporting harassment and other issues, we recognize not everyone is always comfortable turning to law enforcement”, O’Conn0r continued. But reporting prejudice and hatred—whether or not it may be classified as a crime—is so important and the RI Commission on Prejudice & Bias is another important resource to turn to in non-emergency situations”. 

Ryan Belmore

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  He has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the boards of Fort Adams Trust, Lucy's Hearth, and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

In 2020, he was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.

He is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, he spent 39 years living in Rhode Island before recently moving to Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and two rescue dogs. He still considers Rhode Island home, and visits at least once a month.