Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Liaison Officers appointed in each Rhode Island police division

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that each state law enforcement agency has appointed a hate crime and civil rights liaison officer as part of its initiative to prioritize civil rights work and protect Rhode Island’s various communities from hate crime.

“Expanding our civil rights work remains a top priority for this office and this team of dedicated liaison officers will be essential to that work,” said Attorney General Neronha. “This week we launched a nationwide orientation program for Hate Crime Liaison Officers and Civil Rights Liaison Officers to demonstrate how this approach will be structured. I recommend that our law enforcement partners rise to the challenge to ensure that the community and law enforcement agencies are focused in their work to effectively respond to biased incidents. “

During this week, the Attorney General’s Office held virtual orientation and training sessions to prepare liaison officers to respond more effectively to biased wrongdoing and to properly report hate crimes. The online training will be followed this summer by a face-to-face learning session held annually. The Attorney General’s Office works with community partners to ensure that the training provides diverse perspectives and best practice strategies for the police force.

The office also issued guidelines to law enforcement agencies on how to properly report hate crimes in Rhode Island. State law requires all law enforcement agencies to report crimes that are investigated to be motivated by bigotry or bias to the Rhode Island State Police.

In December 2020, the Attorney General established a civil rights team to develop a coordinated and targeted approach to investigating and prosecuting hate crimes and police misconduct. As part of the law enforcement guidelines, the attorney general recommended that each police agency designate a hate crime and civil rights liaison officer to act as a direct point of contact for the civil rights team. The liaison officers program will help streamline information sharing and facilitate training, and will provide law enforcement agencies with another tool to better protect the various communities they serve.

“We commend Attorney General Neronha for prioritizing the civil rights of all Rhode Islanders and for his work in establishing the very timely and necessary civil rights team,” said Sidney Wordell, executive director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association. “Police officers across the state are committed to protecting and serving their communities without prejudice or prejudice, and the appointment of these new hate crime and civil rights liaison officers will enable law enforcement officers to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Attorney General Neronha as we work towards our common goal of reducing hate crime and discrimination in our state. “

Sabina Matos

The Civil Rights team submitted improvements to hate crime conviction on several counts over the past year, and the office supports a bill that would greatly improve the current Rhode Island hate crime conviction law. Last month, the Attorney General’s Office reached an agreement with Brown University’s Public Security Department to ensure the university properly reports hate crimes as required by state law.

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