The Broward State Attorney’s Office has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to combat hate crimes and increase public awareness and reporting of these issues in the community, State Attorney Harold F. Pryor announced.
The federal grant will fund the Broward County Hate Crimes Awareness Initiative, a cooperative venture with local law enforcement, educational and community organizations.
“Hate crimes persist in our world and they are appalling,” State Attorney Pryor said. “This grant will help us, working in partnership with the whole community, to increase awareness and reporting of hate crimes, improve prevention and response efforts, and help victims of these types of crimes.”
The grant will be used to:
- Create a Broward County Hate Crime Task Force with law enforcement and community partners to increase public awareness of hate crimes and provide educational materials and public awareness campaigns to reach at-risk individuals and groups.
- Establish a tracking system for reporting of incidents and potential hate crimes by victims and the community, as well as a dedicated phone line and website link.
- Address underreporting of incidents.
- Promote trust between the community, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system via education, training and community outreach activities.
A prosecutor will be assigned to coordinate with the task force and prosecute cases and a victim advocate will be assigned to help guide and support victims. The task force will work to educate the community, conduct outreach activities, provide information on local resources, provide training for law enforcement and prosecutors, and work to create and enhance policies and procedures to address this issue.
The grant, awarded under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Program, will be funded over three years, ending in late 2024. The federal funding will be supplemented with $105,612 from the state attorney’s office.
Broward County has the second largest population in Florida and is home to a diverse group of residents. More than 60 percent of residents are Black or Hispanic. The county is the eighth largest Jewish community in the U.S. More than 75,000 Muslims live in the county. And Broward is home to a large LGBTQ community.
This will be a communitywide effort but special thanks are due to the following organizations, which submitted letters in support of the grant application: Fort Lauderdale Police Department; Wilton Manors Police Department; Hallandale Beach Police Department; Davie Police Department; Community Foundation of Broward; Broward County Crisis Intervention and Support Division at the Nancy J. Cotterman Center; Urban League of Broward County; Broward College; and Broward County Public Schools.