Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today announced a grant of more than $840,000 to the University of New Hampshire to conduct a national survey of hate crime incidents and victimization. He also announced that a $10 million dollar technical assistance program launched last March by Attorney General Sessions will now include the prosecution and prevention of hate crimes. For the first time, law enforcement will be able to access critical and innovative education and training resources on hate crimes investigation and prevention. The announcements were made at the Department of Justice Law Enforcement Roundtable on Improving the Identification and Reporting of Hate Crimes, hosted by the Department’s Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative. Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore for the Civil Rights Division, Phil Keith, Director of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and Matt M. Dummermuth, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General joined the Deputy Attorney General in making the announcement.
“Today’s roundtable brings together two of the Department’s highest priorities: supporting our state and local law enforcement partners, and deterring bias-motivated crimes,” said Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. “We will continue to work with our partners to prevent hate crimes and make all of our neighborhoods free from violence and fear.”
“Hate crimes are an attack on a fundamental principle of the United States to be free from fear of violence because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to using every tool at its disposal to combat this type of violence and the grants announced today at the law enforcement roundtable will help strengthen our ability to identify and prosecute these violent hate crimes.”
“In all facets of our work, we must ensure that we understand the needs of law enforcement. That is why it is my top priority to ensure that we are always listening to the field, rather than telling the field what it needs,” said COPS Director Phil Keith. “Through programs like today’s roundtable and the extension of Collaborative Reform technical assistance to hate crimes, we can offer the support and assistance that state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies request to improve their own hate crimes efforts.”
“Crimes motivated by racial, ethnic, sexual or religious animus carry a particularly vile moral quality, but because they are defined, recorded and investigated differently across states, we do not fully comprehend their impact on public safety,” said Dummermuth. “This study will shed new light on the prevalence and character of hate offending in the United States, and even better, it will show us what policies and practices are working to solve these crimes, bring perpetrators to justice and deliver support to victims.”
The Department is committed to enforcing federal hate crimes statutes, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HCPA), which allow the Department to prosecute certain crimes that are committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person. The day and a half long law enforcement roundtable joins over fifty law enforcement executives from agencies around the country to explore successful practices and challenges in identifying, reporting, and tracking hate crimes. The roundtable was designed to spur discussions between colleagues about challenges to hate crimes data collection, practical tips on overcoming barriers, and strategies to most efficiently track and prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes nationwide. A report will be issued after the roundtable summarizing the discussion of best practices for law enforcement seeking to improve their agencies’ investigation and reporting of hate crimes.
The multi-phase study, funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in the Department’s Office of Justice Programs, will provide detailed data about hate crimes, analyze local policies that impact hate crime reporting, and identify successful investigation and prosecution strategies. The study will survey 3,000 law enforcement agencies to collect information on rates of reported hate crime incidents, gather profiles of hate crime offenders, and capture challenges in defining, investigating and documenting hate crimes. The second follow-up phase will survey 250 prosecutors about cases that ended in arrest. The study will run through 2021 and include a report on the findings.
The extension of technical assistance relating to hate crimes by the Collaborative Reform Technical Assistance Center, a partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and eight leading law enforcement leadership and labor organizations, will allow law enforcement to build and improve their hate crimes investigation and reporting practices.
The Department has created and launched a number of training and outreach programs in order to work with the network of U.S. Attorney’s Offices, local communities and organizations, and law enforcement to find, identify, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes cases all over the country. These programs include state and local law enforcement trainings, roundtable and panel discussions, stakeholder telephone conferences, and hate crime summits. More information about the Department’s hate crimes efforts, along with a searchable collection of the Department’s resources for law enforcement, community groups, researchers and others, are available on a new DOJ webpage, launched today: www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.
In addition to today’s award, OJP provides indirect support for hate crime programs through several OJP components, such as the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office for Victims of Crime. More information about OJP’s programs is available at: www.ojp.gov.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matt M. Dummermuth, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.
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