Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $750,000)
Collaborative Approaches for Preventing and Addressing Hate Crime
Submitted by: Mesa Police Department – Mesa, Arizona
Proposed Initiative: MPD respectfully requests $576,602 to develop a Hate Crimes Prevention Program
Under Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR), Mesa Police Department (MPD) reported 11 hate crimes between 2015-2019 and 15 in 2020 alone. This increase mirrors statistics showing hate crimes have reached their highest level nation-wide in the past decade. Annual surveys through the Bureau of Justice Statistics show the number of hate crimes reported under UCR are a fraction of those that are unreported. While it is impossible to quantify the extent of underreporting in Mesa, it is reasonable to infer the same disparity between reported hate crimes and those that are unreported. To respond to this issue, the MPD will implement a comprehensive approach to address hate crimes by establishing a Hate Crimes Subject Matter Specialist position focused on building comprehensive approaches that expand and enhance strategies.
Hire Hate Crimes Detective
Increase public awareness and reporting of hate crimes outreach and education
Enhance investigation and prosecution to prevent and respond to hate crimes
Bring justice to hate crime victims
MPD will designate a Hate Crimes detective to lead and implementation the program. Grant will fund hiring an officer to backfill the vacancy left by the detective. Staffing projections include the addition of a detective in Fiscal Year 2024/2025. Therefore, this position will be absorbed by MPD at the end of the grant program. The detective will schedule training on hate crimes awareness and indicators for members of the department. MPD will enhance records management systems through addition of a hate crimes template for reports and supplements. Specialized training will be provided for Victims’ Advocates who provide ongoing support to victims through the investigation process and beyond. MPD will partner with prosecutors to cultivate expertise in the framework of hate crime investigations and to enhance prosecutions.
The program will emphasize collaboration with federal partners, organizations, and community groups. Partnerships will be instrumental in community outreach and providing officer education. MPD will obtain information through community surveys to gain perspective on understanding what constitutes hate crimes and community knowledge of the reporting process. This information will be used to guide ongoing outreach and education. Through this program, MPD will promote the civil rights of residents, increase access to justice for hate crimes victims, and build trust between law enforcement and our community.