GOALcfl aims to build relationships between LGBTQ+ law enforcement and community they serve

ORLANDO, Fla. — Building trust is an important element of any relationship, and The Gay Officers Action League of Central Florida promotes positive relationships and interactions with LGBTQ+ law enforcement professionals with the community that they serve.

From pantry food drives, holding hate crime symposiums and meetings that offer the LGBTQ+ community safe spaces to have a voice, GOALcfl wants the community to know that they have the support of local law enforcement.


On Wednesday, Robin Petrie was sworn in as the organization’s new president.

Robin is a 16-year law enforcement veteran and a sergeant with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

“I love it. Yes,” Petrie said. " It’s definitely what I was meant to do.”

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GOALcfl was founded in 2019, as a fraternal civil rights organization and modeled after GOAL – New York, which was the first organization of its kind.

The organization not only strives to promote a stronger relationship with the community, but it also works within the law enforcement community to change homophobic attitudes within the workplace.

“Within our organization, we also partner with our LGBTQ+ liaisons that are at the different agencies in Central Florida, they’re usually our members, some of them are on our board,” Petrie said. “So that kind of helps build the relationships at different organizations to show people that you can do this too, you can do whatever you want to do, regardless of your gender identity, regardless of your sexual orientation.”

Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith shared Petrie’s passion for the work these agencies are doing.

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“Our relationship with GOAL is huge to our department, our department is all about inclusiveness. We are all the same and goal stands for that,” Smith said. “Our community outreach, they do all types of things in the community and that’s what we stand for. We want that outreach, let everybody know the police department is there for them, we are all the same and GOAL stands for that.”

Heading into its fifth year, Petrie has noticed the difference the organization has made in the community.

“I’ve noticed a lot more positive interactions, since we’ve been out in the community than we used to have. Because they realize that we’re here for the long haul, we’re here to make a difference,” Petrie said. “When we’re in the community, them seeing us and knowing that we support them, like when we go to the Pulse Memorials, when we go to the Pride Parade, just taking a photo with them with the community, showing them that we’re just like them, we were all human beings, and we love them, and they love us.”

Petrie said that she hopes one day organizations like this won’t be necessary, but in the meantime, her immediate goals are to continue to get out into the community and work with local organizations, like the Zebra Coalition, to make a positive impact and real change.

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“I want to keep being involved in that community even more than we are. When we do, I just donated to the Pride Pantry yesterday, a food donation. And it’s amazing. Just the little gestures, how far it goes, just somebody knowing, we care enough to go pick up food and bring it to you to make sure that you eat,” Petrie said.

Petrie told Eyewitness News the support that LGBTQ+ law enforcement professionals and the community receive from the “higher-ups,” like her boss Sheriff John Mina, is an important factor in the positive impact that has been made.

“He genuinely cares about the community, especially the LGBTQ+ community. It’s not fake. (Mina’s) a very fair man. Yeah, he’s, he genuinely supports us. And that trickles down throughout the ranks,” Petrie said.

And that kind of leadership helps to create more positive interactions with the community, especially LGBTQ+ youth.

“We try to give a positive interaction with these kids that interact with law enforcement, to let them know that they have people on their side,” Petrie added.

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