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Award Information

Award #
15PBJA-21-GG-03208-HATE
Location
Awardee County
Westchester
Congressional District
Status
Open
Funding First Awarded
2022
Total funding (to date)
$300,000

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $300,000)

The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office (“WCDAO”) is seeking funding from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance for an additional prosecutor and/or crime analyst that would allow the DA’s Office to increase its capacity to track, investigate and prosecute bias incidents and hate crimes. Additionally, the WCDAO is also seeking to increase its ability to engage with the community to educate and work together to increase awareness and reporting of hate crimes and bias incidents in the County.  Specifically, the Office seeks to hire an additional prosecutor and/or crime analyst who will work together with our Hate Crimes Coordinator to (1) investigate and prosecute hate crimes from inception through closure;  (2) record hate crimes and bias incidents reported in Westchester County and analyze the data collected in an effort to discover trends and patterns that will be helpful in preventing and/or prosecuting said crimes;  (3) educate and train police officers to identify and respond to hate crimes with an understanding of the sensitivities surrounding these crimes; and (4) educate communities in order to encourage reporting of said crimes as well as providing support to victims. 

Since DA Rocah took office in January 2021, the WCDAO has been extremely focused on its response to the precipitous rise of hate crimes in Westchester County. During this brief period, the Office has already undertaken several important steps to address these crimes, such as appointing a Hate Crimes Coordinator to oversee the Office’s efforts with respect to hate crimes and bias incidents; collaborating with law enforcement to improve and centralize reporting of these crimes; establishing a hotline and online complaint form (in five languages) to encourage victims and witnesses to come forward; and, engaging in community outreach and education regarding hate crimes and bias incidents. However, the Office’s current funding only allows for this work to be done part-time by one ADA and one crime analyst who have significant competing demands for their time because of their extensive caseloads. The addition of an ADA and/or analyst who can devote all of their time to working on hate crimes will allow this Office to combat these crimes in a more aggressive and holistic manner.

Date Created: November 2, 2021