NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The University of New Haven announced hands-on training for law enforcement agencies that respond to hate crimes. The training will be funded with a $120,000 federal grant.
Experts say law enforcement agencies oftentimes miss crucial evidence at the scene of a hate crime, leaving many of them unsolved. This training is meant to teach officers what to look out for so they can make an arrest.
“It is really science that drives good law enforcement,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal during a press conference Monday. “The science of law enforcement demands training people who are out there, on the beat, in the streets, finding the evidence and sometimes under tremendous pressure.”
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Latest data from the Department of Justice shows the number of reported hate crimes have increased in recent years.
In Connecticut, there were 102 hate crime incidents in 2020, 76 in 2019 and 81 in 2018.
The state’s anti-defamation league says anecdotally, they have received more reports of hate crime this year already than last year. ADL received more reports of white supremacist antisemitism propaganda including antisemitism, anti-LGBTQ, anti-AAPI and racism.
“One of these incidents is just one person getting off the couch taking action, but it creates fear in an entire community,” said Stacey Sobel, Connecticut Anti-Defamation League regional director. “Hate incidents and hate crime really impact everybody. People want to feel safe and secure living in their communities.”
The Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven will host the training. The university says they have already received interest from local and out-of-state law enforcement agencies.
Forensic scientist Henry Lee says many hate crime cases are unsolved because proper evidence was not collected.
“Police shootings: you have an abundance of evidence. Hate crimes, sometimes, is just a message or some graffiti or a verbal threat,” he said.
Police and investigators will be trained on collecting forensic evidence, like DNA and fingerprints, at the scene of a hate incident. Training also includes prevention of community conflict and hate crimes, crisis management, crime scene security and preservation and forensic lab capabilities.