Over 120 Members of State and Local Law Enforcement Across the State Participated in Four-Day New York Hate Crimes Investigation School in Albany
Training Includes Measures to Investigate Hate Crimes, Evidence Procedures and Available Resources
Training Supports Governor Cuomo’s Recent Actions to Combat Bias and Discrimination
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Police completed its New York State Hate Crimes Investigation School at the State Police Academy in Albany. Over the course of four days, more than 120 members of state, county, and local law enforcement agencies – along with District Attorneys’ staff – attended the State Police-sponsored training. The event provided an opportunity for members to receive training in identifying and investigating hate crimes in New York State, evidence procedures, available resources, along with tips on how to combat these type of activities in their communities.
“New York has zero tolerance for bias or discrimination, and this action will help ensure state and local law enforcement officers and prosecutors receive the latest training and most up-to-date information to aid in the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes,” said Governor Cuomo. “Make no mistake: these are heinous and reprehensible acts that go against everything New York stands for. Those who commit these crimes will be caught and will be prosecuted.”
During the trainings, which took place from Monday, March 6 through today, participants heard from representatives of law enforcement that are experienced in investigating these types of crimes, as well as associated legal experts. The training included a presentation on Computer Assisted Investigations by a member of the State Police Computer Crimes Unit. The State Police have resources to investigate internet-based threats, including those made on social media. Additional presenters included staff from the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District, the FBI, and the Anti-Defamation League.
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “This training only betters our law enforcement services and assistance to people across New York. If you choose to commit these types of crimes in our state, you will be held accountable and prosecuted. We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our communities."
Evan R. Bernstein, Anti-Defamation League New York Regional Director, said, "We are proud to continue to partner with the New York State Police and Governor Cuomo’s office in order to continue to prevent and respond to hate crimes plaguing our communities. Continued training for law enforcement on hate crime identification, response, and reporting is essential to ensuring that bias-motivated crimes are effectively investigated and prosecuted. We thank and commend Governor Cuomo for this initiative in response to the threats directed against our community institutions. The governor has demonstrated ideal leadership in making it crystal clear that hate against any community is unacceptable."
This State Police-sponsored training comes in the wake of a number of bias-related incidents across the state, including bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and Anti-Defamation League Offices in New York City. The State Police is assisting with the investigations into these incidents.
Protecting Civil Rights and Combatting Hate Crimes
The Governor has taken a number of recent actions to combat hate and bias-related incidents, including the launch of a new Hate Crimes Text Line, enabling any New Yorker to easily report incidents in their community. Those who have experienced or witnessed bias or discrimination are encouraged to text “HATE” to 81336 with details of the incident, including photo or video documentation.
The text line is in addition to a toll-free telephone bias and discrimination hotline operated by the State Division of Human Rights (1-888-392-3644). Since its creation last November, the hotline has received more than 3,400 calls, and has referred 126 to the State Police for investigation into potential criminal conduct. In case of emergency or if you are a victim of a crime, always dial 911. A $5,000 reward is also being made available for any information leading to an arrest and conviction for a hate crime.
Governor Cuomo has also created a $25 million grant program to boost safety and security at New York’s schools and day care centers at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission. The grant program will provide funding for additional security equipment and training needs, and will be administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Those who are crime victims may contact the New York State Office of Victim Services, which funds 223 programs statewide, providing direct services, such as crisis intervention and counseling, to victims of crime, including hate crimes. Those programs also can help any crime victim apply for compensation and other assistance from the agency, which is a safety net for individuals who have no other resources. Individuals seeking help from OVS also can search for a service provider online: https://ovs.ny.gov/locate-program. For more information, please visit: www.ovs.ny.gov.
Under state law, a person commits a hate crime when one of a specified set of offenses is committed targeting a victim because of a perception or belief about their race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation, or when such an act is committed as a result of that type of perception or belief. Hate crimes can be perpetrated against an individual, a group of individuals or against public or private property. Also under state law it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, ethnicity and many other protected classifications.
New York has the proud distinction of being the first state in the nation to enact a Human Rights Law, affording every citizen "an equal opportunity to enjoy a full and productive life." The New York State Division of Human Rights is the agency in charge of enforcing this law, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and other jurisdictions, based on age, race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, military status, and other specified classes. For more information about the Human Rights Law and the work of the agency, please visit the Division of Human Rights’ website at www.dhr.ny.gov.
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