|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||BJA||Thursday, January 13, 2000||202/307-0703|
LOS ANGELES, CA-The Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) today presented a 15-minute video and accompanying brochure to assist law enforcement officers in preventing and investigating hate crimes. The video and guide are being presented in conjunction with a meeting where federal, state and local officials are sharing information about effective strategies being employed across the nation to respond to hate crimes.
"Hate crimes cannot and will not be tolerated," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "Law enforcement officers are on the front lines and perform critical services in responding to hate crimes that occur in our communities. We need to provide law enforcement with information and tools to effectively investigate and prevent inexcusable acts of intolerance."
The 15-minute video, "Responding to Hate Crimes," is divided into three 5-minute segments that can be aired during roll calls. The guide, "Responding to Hate Crimes: A Police Officer's Guide to Investigation and Prevention," includes a definition of hate crimes developed at the 1998 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)Summit on Hate Crime in America, information on how to respond to hate crimes, key indicators that a hate crime has occurred and tips on working with victims of hate crimes. The guide also includes a 4-page tear-out pocket guide officers can carry with them while on duty.
The video and guide are a collaborative effort between BJA and the IACP. The materials are the result of the 1997 White House Conference on Hate Crimes and the later IACP Summit on Hate Crimes in America. BJA is sending copies of the video to approximately 16,000 police and sheriffs' departments across the country. The guide may be obtained through IACP's Website www.theiacp.org or from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service at 1-800/851-3420.
These materials are being presented at BJA's Policy Briefing for State Administrative Agency Directors, who collectively administer over $600 million annually in BJA funding through the Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement formula grant program and the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants Program, as well as federal and state funds. The meeting will include presentations by BJA Director Nancy Gist, U.S. Attorney Alejendro Mayorkas, as well as representatives from the Simon Wiesental Center. Last year, the Wiesenthal Center, at the direction of the Congress, received $2 million from BJA to provide its "Tools for Tolerance"curriculum to law enforcement officers.
"BJA is committed to ensuring that state and local officials with whom we work are informed about the best possible approaches in public safety," said BJA Director Nancy Gist. "Meetings such as these give us the opportunity to help spread the word on the great work that is being done across the country to prevent and investigate hate crimes."
A copy of the two-day agenda for the policy briefing is attached. Additional information about the Office of Justice Programs or BJA is available at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov
For additional information contact Doug Johnson at 202/616-3559