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Hate Crimes Task Force 1998 Recommendations
 
 

The Police Commission's Hate Crime Task Force Membership:

Commissioner Dean Hansell, Task Force Chair

Carla Arrгnaga, Deputy District Attorney, Hate Crimes Suppression Unit

Todd Rubenstein, Deputy District Attorney, Hate Crimes Suppression Unit

Deborah Sanchez, Deputy City Attorney, Special Enforcement Division

Michael Gennaco, United States Attorney's Office

Tamar Galatzan, Western States Assoc Counsel, Anti-Defamation League

Joe Hicks, Executive Director, L.A. County Human Relations CommissionReva Trevino, Senior Consultant, L.A. County Human Relations Commission

Kathy Feng, Asian Pacific Islander Advisory Council to Police Commission

Sandra Farrington-Domingue, L.A. Gay and Lesbian Law Enforcement Advisory Council

Gloria McMillan, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles

Dan Ichinose, Research Coordinator, Asian Pacific American Legal Center

Regina Love, Office of Disabilities, City of Los Angeles

Eve Fisher, Deputy Director, City Human Relations Commission

Darlene Fields, City Human Relations Commission

Commander Peggy York, Detective Services Group, LAPD

Commander Richard LeGarra (Retired), Detective Services Group, LAPD

Detective Tom King, Criminal Conspiracy Section, LAPD

Dr. Robin Greene, Behavioral Science Services, LAPD

Sergeant Sandy Jo MacArthur, Training Division, LAPD

Sergeant Glynn Martin, Anti-Terrorist Division, LAPD

Police Officer Sheila Daniel, Training Division, LAPD

Sergeant Lisa Phillips, Northeast Area - Patrol, LAPD

Ken Ferber, Director of Public Affairs, Police Commission

Michael L. Prendergast, Staff Liaison, Police Commission

Purpose:
To review the adequacy of existing policies and procedures on hate crimes enforcement;
To provide additional training for Department personnel who investigate hate crimes;
To improve the quality of preliminary and follow up investigations;
To increase accuracy in data capture of hate crimes and hate incidents; and
To provide public education and information to community and business.

Overview:
Hate crimes are acts and threats of violence perpetrated against persons because of their membership or perceived membership in a protected group. Such crimes are prompted by a range of motivations from discriminatory ideologies to spur of the moment irrational outbursts. Hate crimes pose an egregious threat to both the intended victim and to the community at large because of the physical and psychological reverberations.

Numerous factors combine to render prejudice-motivated crimes particularly reprehensible. Hate crimes involve a "double wrong". The perpetrator(s) not only commits a criminal act but also engages in a wrongful act of discrimination. Crimes motivated by a prejudicial hostility can result in substantially more severe injuries. Finally, crimes directed against victims because of their immutable characteristics have wide-reaching social implications and consequences. The effect of hate crimes reach far beyond the immediate injuries to the victim, they traumatize the victim's community and subsequently, society at large.

Hate crimes continue to be a serious issue in Los Angeles County. Due in part to improved reporting procedures, the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission (LACHRC) document 995 and 820 hate crimes in Los Angeles County in 1996 and 1997, the second largest number of hate crimes in the nation. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office's zero tolerance of hate crimes has resulted in a dramatic increase in hate crime prosecutions totaling 225 in 1997 compared to 39 in the preceding year. Over half of these were committed by juveniles. The number of reported hate crimes remains unacceptably high.

The burgeoning growth in populations of racial minorities and changing demographics in Los Angeles have resulted in a documented increase of racial hate crimes in Los Angeles County, according to the LACHRC. The need for the revised Special Order and implementation of the following recommendations are necessary to reduce both the incidence and fear of hate crimes in Los Angeles.

Accomplishments to Date:
The Hate Crimes Task force has had six principal accomplishments to date:
Redrafted the Special Order on hate crimes. This Special Order to be issued by Chief Bernard C. Parks will put the Los Angeles Police Department in the forefront in the nation on the prevention and enforcement of hate crimes. It establishes responsibility and accountability for hate crime investigation at a very high level at each station.
Developed new and updated existing training materials related to hate crimes.
Developed a notebook divider for investigation of hate crimes and incidents to be used by Department Personnel.
Developed the procedures to be used in the field in investigating potential hate crimes.
Revised procedures to be used in the reporting, documentation and maintenance of statistical data as it relates to both hate crimes and incidents.
Many hate crimes in the County that are felonies are reported as misdemeanors. Moreover, many hate crimes that can only be prosecuted as misdemeanors at the state level can be prosecuted as felonies at the federal level. Therefore we have revised the procedures to be used in the filing of hate crimes with the District Attorney's Office and have a mandatory forwarding process for review with the U.S. Attorney's and Los Angeles City Attorney's offices.
Revised the Los Angeles hate crimes brochure, with input and collaboration from the L.A. City and County Human Relations Commissions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

RECOMMENDATION 1:
The Task Force recommends that the incidence of hate crimes in a particular area be included within the factors examined to evaluate the effectiveness of a command. It is recommended that FASTRAC be expanded to include:
Accountability of Commanding Officers for hate crimes and hate incidents within their command.
Discussion by Commanding Officers of trends within their geographic area brought to the attention of the Department from community-based organizations.

RECOMMENDATION 2:
It is recommended that hate crime prevention, enforcement and education activity be made a part of the Area Annual Work Plan to ensure that key station personnel meet periodically with neighborhood groups and/or residents to advise and share concerns.

RECOMMENDATION 3:
The Task Force convenes on a quarterly basis and partner with community-based groups and government agencies to address community concerns as they relate to hate crimes and incidents. A special emphasis should be made by such a coalition to partner with educational institutions and community based organizations in juvenile hate crimes education, prevention, suppression and intervention programs.

RECOMMENDATION 4:
Use of the Department's computer resources to track and respond to clusters of hate crime and incidents, to provide the data needed for the FASTRAC process, and to supply statistics for management and community information. In order for this recommendation to succeed, the Area level must ensure that each hate crime report is properly classified and accurately coded.

RECOMMENDATION 5:
The Hate Crimes Reward Fund provides a maximum of $500 per incident. It is recommended that the City Council increase the Hate Crimes Reward Fund to a level commensurate with the seriousness of the crime.

RECOMMENDATION 6:
The hate crimes brochure should be translated into Spanish, Korean, Tagalog and Chinese.

RECOMMENDATION 7:
The hate crimes notebook divider and all notebook dividers be available on the LAPD LAN system.
 
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