On February 2, 2016, U.S. Attorney Bentley debuted the latest version of "About Face: Turning Away from Hate," a training tool that has been developed to focus on the consequences and impact of hate crimes and bias-related incidents. The Florida Regional Community Policing Institute at St. Petersburg College hosted a Training-of-Trainers (TOT) course to introduce this revised tool to Florida law enforcement officers. More than 30 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, trainers, and prosecutors representing 17 agencies participated in the training. The day-long training focused on the anatomy of hate crimes and how bias and prejudicial attitudes, left unchecked, can lead to more serious criminal activity. The training class also examined intervals in the bias continuum, educated participants about applicable federal and state hate crime laws, and introduced ways to discuss sensitive topics.
In 2003, the U.S. Attorney’s Hate Crimes Working Group, comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals and educational institutions, developed the interactive educational training tool, About Face: Turning Away From Hate. Since then, this tool has been used by law enforcement officers, educators, students, and community members to train others, including their peers, in the prevention, investigation, enforcement, and reconciliation of bias-motivated crimes.
In 2015, the expanded U.S. Attorney’s Civil Rights Working Group, in partnership with the Florida Regional Community Policing Institute (RCPI) at St. Petersburg College, updated the tool to include components of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, a multicultural public service community video, and other newly developed training and educational resources.
The U.S. Department of Justice is taking unprecedented steps to enforce civil rights legislation and fight against bias-motivated crimes. While we are encouraged by our many recent achievements, we know that more work is needed. Even with all of the Department’s endeavors, we cannot combat this problem alone. International, federal, state, and non-governmental resources must be combined and coordinated in a constructive way to address these complex issues. One significant way is to increase education and awareness among the stakeholders within our respective communities.
To request a presentation of the About Face program, contact the Florida RCPI. This interactive learning tool is sponsored by the Florida Regional Community Policing Institute at St. Petersburg College. The Florida RCPI provides community policing training to law enforcement officers, community residents, city employees, social service agencies, and private sector representatives locally, nationally, and internationally.
The update of this “About Face: Turning Away from Hate” training tool was funded by BJA grant 2010-DDBX-K018.