"a 24-bed transgender module will open"

The announcement was made at a Thursday night community meeting in Hollywood, where Police Chief Charlie Beck and command staff discussed issues specific to transgender residents. Beck told the group of about 50 that the department would train officers to refer to transgender individuals by the name and gender they prefer.

The same policy also instructs officers to treat transgender individuals with respect and courtesy when encountering them on the street and bars them from searching transgender people with the sole purpose of determining their anatomical gender.

At least one community activist hailed the announcements as a major development in the historically contentious relationship between transgender people and LAPD officers.

"This is a new LAPD," said Karina Samala, a transgender woman and chair of the Transgender Working Group, which was formed in 2007 to collaborate with the department on changes in its policies. "The chief of police is now listening and really paying attention to our issues."

Read More | "LAPD plans separate jail for transgender suspects" | Sam Quinones | ?The Los Angeles Times