In hopes of combating bias crimes and incidents, the Morris and Sussex County Prosecutor’s Offices will join the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the County Prosecutor’s Association of New Jersey in an October 2 training program at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy on West Hanover Avenue in Parsippany.
The training will focus on how to recognize, respond to and report bias crimes and incidents. It is aimed at law enforcement officials, community leaders, chaplains, faith-based leaders and interested members of the public.
The program will also explore the distinction between a bias crime and a bias incident. A bias crime is a traditional criminal offense committed against individuals solely because of their race or gender. Bias incidents are race or gender-driven offenses such as harassing comments in the workplace or classroom that do not rise to the level of a crime.
Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp said, “Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to be vigilant in fighting bigotry and bias. We look forward to working with our community partners in this joint effort.”
Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch said, “The program will expand our joint offices’ ability to work across jurisdictional boundaries and disciplines to help identify and successfully prosecute bias crimes.”
New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino said, “New Jersey’s diversity is a tremendous source of strength and cultural richness for our residents. Bigotry and hatred, left unchecked, will undermine that strength and threaten our community by turning our differences into fear and tension. We will continue to do everything in our power to stand up against and prosecute illegal discrimination and bias related activity.”
Added Elie Honig, director, Division of Criminal Justice, “We are pleased to work with our county prosecutors and our community partners to combat bias crime. Training programs such as these allow us to reach individuals on the ground who are charged with recognizing bias and hate crimes. We expect that the participants will spread their knowledge and expand our reach, encouraging other members of the community to come forward and report bias crimes as well.”
A segment of the training will cover the role of community outreach, as it relates to local leaders, chaplains, interested community groups and county Human Relations Commissions.
There were 367 bias crimes in New Jersey in 2015, according to the New Jersey State Police, 26 of which occurred in Morris County. There were no bias crimes in Sussex County in 2015, but there were four in 2014.
As the State Police noted in an introduction to its 2015 Uniform Crime Report, the latest comprehensive data available, “crimes motivated by hate and bias tend to erode the basic fabric of society.”
The program will be held from 9 a.m. to noon with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Registration is available online by using the survey monkey web link of https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FR6BYHQ
Early registration is encouraged because seats are expected to fill up quickly.
Questions about the program should be referred to David Leonardis of the State Division of Criminal Justice at [email protected] or Samantha DeNegri, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor at the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, at [email protected]
For inquiries about this release, contact Public Information Officer Fred Snowflack at (973) 829-8159 or [email protected]