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Tools for Tolerance

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Los Angeles
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $2,000,000)

The Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program, administered by the Office of Justice Programs' (OJP's) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), furthers the Department's mission by assisting state and local jurisdictions in improving the criminal justice system and assisting communities in preventing drug abuse and crime. In fiscal year 2007, the Edward Byrne Memorial Discretionary Grants Program will focus on funding local, regional, and national efforts within six major categories: 1) targeting violent crime; 2) preventing crime and drug abuse; 3) enhancing local law enforcement; 4) enhancing local courts; 5) enhancing local corrections and offender reentry; and 6) facilitating justice information sharing. All categories combat, address, or otherwise respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime, or in a type or types of crime.

Today's criminal justice and law enforcement professionals face unprecedented challenges in bringing their knowledge and training to bear on an increasingly diverse, rapidly changing and enormously complex society. Moreover, these challenges are increasing 'at a time when [law enforcement's] resources ' human and financial ' are stretched tighter than ever' Law enforcement agencies must work harder, smarter, and in concert to maximize the impact of their limited resources.' As a result of globalization, Internet communication, immigration issues and other social and economic trends, law enforcement faces a perceived and real breakdown in communication with the communities they serve. In October, 2005, the FBI released 'Hate Crime Statistics, 2004.' According to the Bureau, 12,711 agencies reported 7,649 hate crimes incidents'motivated by race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin'an increase of over 2 percent from the 2003 Report. With racial bias (52.9 percent), religious bias (18 percent), sexual orientation bias (15.7 percent), and ethnicity/national origins (12.7 percent) the leading causes, the growing problem of hate crimes continues to demand federal, state, and local collaboration. These statistics are probably only 'the tip of the iceberg,' in that over 4,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide did not participate in the FBI's reporting efforts, and only 16.1 percent of participating agencies reported even a single hate crime.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center Inc., Museum of Tolerance, Tools for Tolerance will use the funds to respond to precipitous or extraordinary increases in crime by expanding programs nationwide to enhance law enforcement and criminal justice professional training in the areas of hate crimes and terrorism, leadership initiatives, diversity and racial profiling. To address the problem of lack of trust, the Tools for Tolerance® training emphasizes the need for relationship building, broader understanding of the rapidly changing nature of communities, greater cultural awareness, ethical decision making, and strategic collaboration between law enforcement, criminal justice and public safety agencies, and also with community groups, including faith based organizations. Compounding these issues is the steady increase in hate crimes and the reality of terrorism and its threat to our future, which introduces new complexity into the activities of the Criminal Justice System. The toughness of conventional policing and enforcement together with the more human issues around community bonding is the paradox of modern law enforcement activities in a post 9-11 environment.


Date Created: August 1, 2007