Hate crimes training draws police, prosecutors from near and far
A first-of-its-kind hat crimes training in the Hudson Valley is being held at Westchester Community College.
It's called "Creating Safer Communities" and it's being hosted by the Westchester District Attorney's Office Oct. 3-5.
"They are going to learn about the history of hate in America and the federal responses to hate," said Daphne Felton-Green, presenter at the event and former civil rights attorney with the Department of Justice. "They will also learn how to investigate hate crimes how to identify hate crimes and importantly how to work with survivors."
The training drew police officers and prosecutors from neighboring counties and from as far away as Florida.
"We are proud to offer this unique opportunity in Westchester County for prosecutors and law enforcement to come together and receive a national training model designed to strengthen our response to hate crimes and bias incidents, and increase support for victims and impacted communities," Westchester District Attorney Miriam Rocah said in press release.
The training event comes after Rocah created the departments first Hate Crime's Unit in 2021.
Last year the unit investigated 120 hate crime cases and prosecuted 67 of them.
Earlier this year the DA's office announced a new Law Enforcement Reporting Portal to centralize county-wide data on hate crimes an bias incidents.
"It's super vital in doing what we do," said Catalina Blanco Buitrago, Assistant District Attorney, Bias & Hate Crimes Coordinator.
The training was provided in partnership with the Collaborative Reform Initiative Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC) and technology corporation Meta.
Victims or witnesses of hate crimes should report it to your local police department.
In Westchester County, you can also report non-emergency incidents of hate, bias and discrimination to the county Human Rights Commission at 914-995-7710.