Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $120,000)
The CT Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection annual report for 2020 showed crimes of racial bias, disability bias, religious bias, and sexual orientation bias. The types of crime varied, from destruction and vandalism to assaults against persons, which constituted the majority of hate crimes. Community distrust of police response is amplified by the number of well-publicized, police-involved shootings and other police incidents that seem to ignore apparent bias and extreme actions by the police. The perceived inaction by police when hate crimes have occurred and after police-involved incidents have further eroded trust in law enforcement actions, investigations, and the criminal justice system. The proper response of police to those incidents is crucial to achieve justice and to assure the community of the concern of law enforcement and the justice system. If police response is to be trusted by the community and justice is to be achieved, law enforcement must know how to handle the investigation of these crime scenes, recognize and document evidence, and preserve evidence properly.
Because law enforcement and criminal justice agency budgets include few funds for high-level or hands-on training in the areas of scene investigation of police shootings and hate crimes, there can be a major gap in the knowledge and skills of investigators. Recent advances in forensic science have brought many new technologies to assist these investigations. Through this grant the Henry C. Lee Institute will create meaningful, up-to-date training in the major evidence areas, and the recognition, identification, and documentation of various types of evidence, offered at no cost to law enforcement and criminal justice practitioners.
During the course of this project, the Henry C. Lee Institute will:
Create a one-day in person/ virtual training for law enforcement and criminal justice professionals in Connecticut about the proper forensic investigation of hate crimes and incidents between the police and the community, addressing various aspects of forensic evaluation of these incidents.
Three training workshops will also be offered for up to 30 officers, detectives, investigators, and community partners including hands-on elements for the investigation of scenes, identification and documentation of evidence, and to familiarize attendees with applicable field and laboratory technologies.
A digital recording of the training will be available to all interested parties who submit a request to the Institute so other officers and attorneys can benefit from the training.
This program will take place over an 18 month period.