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Enhancing the Response to Hate Crimes

In response to hate crimes and hate incidents, the Lawyers’ Committee and the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) partnered to launch the Enhancing the Response to Hate Crimes Advisory Committee. This expert committee convened leaders in law enforcement, civil rights, and academia for a series of comprehensive discussions examining promising practices for response to hate crimes,as well as how these practices shape community-police relations.

The advisory committee led a collaborative effort to help stakeholders develop specific strategies to enhance their response to hate crimes and hate incidents. As the discussions progressed, the committee members identified five critical issues that are imperative to enhancing hate crimes response practices, as well as an action agenda for community organizations and law enforcement to address each critical issue. The action agenda has three categories of action items—actions that community leaders, civil rights organizations, and law enforcement can take, together, to address these critical issues; actions that community and civil rights organizations can take to proactively engage law enforcement and other stakeholders in combating hate; and actions that law enforcement can take to effectively engage with vulnerable communities, including actions before, during, and after a crisis event.

The goal of these action items is to help break down barriers and strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve to enhance the prevention, reporting, investigation, and successful prosecution of hate crimes. Once implemented, these action items will enhance the ability of law enforcement, civil rights organizations, and community organizations to more effectively address hate and bias motivated crimes in their communities and to ensure the safety of all individuals threatened by hate.

The report and action agenda, developed by law enforcement leaders, civil rights advocates, and academia, offer concrete strategies to institutionalize an enhanced response to hate crimes and hate incidents. These strategies require the committed efforts of both law enforcement agencies and community members to prevent hate and bias incidents as well as reduce the detrimental effects of these incidents by effectively responding when a hate crime occurs. The advisory group believes that these strategies, if implemented properly, will better serve and improve the well-being of targeted communities, as well as enhance the quality of overall community-police relations.