(CBS STORY) A few months ago, Officer John Reinert of the San Jose Police Department in California had a secret to tell the police chief. A secret he'd been keeping for half a century.
"I was a nervous wreck, there's no doubt. It's not something I tell everybody for fifty plus years." -Officer Reinert.
The department's top brass has just undergone new L-G-B-T sensitivity training. At that point, the fifty six-year-old instructor decided he'd been in the closet long enough.
"Finally I said, chief, after that session on the 25th, I'm gay too." –Officer Reinert
Chief Chris Moore with the San Jose Police Department released a memo on Monday promoting National Coming Out Day, saying that, "stress and anguish can result from hiding a person's sexual orientation and the department encourages members to be who they are".
Albert Morales, San Jose Police spokesperson, said in a statement, "coming out, so to speak, isn't going to affect any promotional opportunities that might be available, any special assignments, or anything else you want to do in this department".
Reinert says there could be as many as forty officers, in the San Jose department of one thousand cops who are afraid to come out.
Starting this week, for the first time, Reinert will lecture new police academy recruits not to suffer for years like he did.
"It's just so liberating that you don't have to worry about all the baggage you've been carrying around and that when you're working you can focus on your job, not trying to maintain a cover story and enjoy life." – Officer Reinert
Reinert says they want to be treated just like everybody else. They are not gay officers, but rather officers who just happen to be gay.