Arlington police officer is first transgender officer in department history

(FOX 4) -- A veteran Arlington police officer who joined the force nearly two decades ago as a man is mid-transition to become a woman.

She is now Arlington's first-ever transgender police officer. The officer is home recovering from surgery and respectfully declined a request for an interview. FOX4 is not identifying the officer, who has worked more than 18 years as a patrol officer, to protect her privacy.

David Mack Henderson, with the LGBT advocacy group "Fairness Fort Worth," has acted as a liaison between the officer and her employer -- the City of Arlington.

He said the officer first reached out to his group more than a year ago during mandatory training the city provided on LGBT awareness.

"They wanted to have a conversation with those of us who've seen these transitions on the job before and create a dialogue on how best to proceed,” Henderson said.

The City of Arlington said in a statement that the city “is an inclusive, supportive organization and we respect the privacy of all of our employees."

The Arlington Municipal Patrolman's Association declined to comment.

Henderson keeps in touch with the officer whom is currently out on medical leave.

"My understanding is the officer who is in mid transition currently had a long dialogue with the city of Arlington and with the police department's senior staff about what this transition would look like and how it would involve the city and police department and how it would not,” Henderson said.

Henderson is optimistic, but also realistic, about the officer who is planning to return to the beat as a woman.

"I think it would be naive to suggest everyone who greets this officer when he or she returns to work will have the same opinion...what I find unique is the more people meet folks who are transgender the more they realize-- what's the problem?"

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