Law enforcement leaders recognize the ethical and legal imperatives to which they and their officers must adhere to ensure that the civil and human rights of all individuals in their communities are protected. Despite media coverage that often focuses on negative police-citizen encounters, law enforcement officers in reality comprise the largest and most visible contingent of the civil rights guardians in the United States and other democratic countries. Throughout the world, law enforcement officers play critical roles in the investigating and preventing hate crimes, and they protect vulnerable members of their communities from being victimized. Acting on their commitment to the ideals of community policing and in the spirit of public service, law enforcement personnel also act as change agents by promoting cultural understanding and by working with community groups to ease racial and ethnic tensions.
Recognizing the underappreciated role of police agencies and officers in protecting and promoting civil rights, the IACP Civil Rights Committee established an annual award to honor exceptional agency or individual achievements in this arena. The following are summaries of the seven recipients of the 2006 IACP Civil Rights Award.
Agency: Calgary Police Services ( Alberta, Canada)
Program: “Don’t Buy-In” Hate/Bias Project
Description: The Don’t Buy-In Project is a diversity and hate-bias program for local junior and senior high school students. This program provides schools with the skill development, information, and resources needed to support an environment that actively addresses issues of hate, bias, and discrimination. Through the program, local schools can book presentations by CPS personnel that teach children about diversity and help them to respond to hate bias incidents and crimes. The program uses interactive teaching approaches to engage children in the learning process in non-threatening ways. Additional details about the program are available at www.dontbuyin.ca
Agency: Durant Police Department ( Durant, OK)
Program: Hispanic Outreach Program
Description: Addressing recent demographic changes, the new Chief of Police for Durant committed to making outreach to the Hispanic community a top priority upon entering office. Components of this program included reaching out to recognized leaders in the Hispanic community; distribution of Spanish language material including drivers’ manuals, victim rights cards, and domestic violence brochures; and changes in the enforcement of no-drivers-license offenses through municipal rather than district court. The Hispanic Outreach Program resulted in direct and measurable benefits to the community. These included increased attendance by Hispanic residence as meeting progressed, decreased incarcerations for minor offenses, and reduced civilian complaints against the department. As a result of the program, police officers and members of the Hispanic community gained valuable insights into each other’s lives, developed appreciation for common goals of public safety, and established and maintained mutual trust.
Agency: Ontario Provincial Police ( Ontario, Canada)
Program: Aboriginal Relations Teams
Description: The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has established Aboriginal Relations Teams (ART) throughout the province. Aboriginal OPP officers, working in detachments and with Aboriginal communities provide specialized support and assistance to Aboriginal people and communities. ART officers ensure timely and appropriate support and response in consideration of broadly changing dynamics in the Aboriginal community. In the spirit of partnership with all Nations, ART officers encourage and develop respectful relations between the OPP and Aboriginal people. The program stresses mutual dignity and respect of each other’s uniqueness and of the Creator's gifts.
Agency: Special Multi-Agency Award ( Riverside, CA) for the Riverside Fire Department; Riverside Police Department; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Program: Arson Task Force
Description: The Riverside Arson Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional task force of dedicated officers from the Riverside, California area. The task force is composed of members from the Riverside Fire Department, Riverside Police Department, as well as local offices of the ATF and FBI. These agencies combined their resources and staff to conduct town hall meetings in communities across the Inland Empire ( Riverside and San Bernardino counties) on the topics of hate crimes, arson, and civil rights violations. The overarching goal of the task for was to educate community members to recognize and prevent hate incidents and related crimes. The task force engaged more than 300 law enforcement officials and community members on this subject. The dialogue between law enforcement and community residents has helped to empower the community to curb hate crime activity, as well as combat racial stereotypes and bigotry. Furthermore, their outreach efforts opened the lines of communication between the public, law enforcement, and religious leaders, allowing productive discussion on a wide variety of issues and concerns expressed by local residents .
Agency: Edmonton Police Service ( Alberta, Canada)
Program: Hate Crime Unit: Community Liaison Officer Partnership Model
Description: Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS) Community Liaison Officer Partnership Model is a program administered by EPS’ Hate Crime Unit. The program is inspired by EPS’ commitment to community policing and stems from insights of patrol officers working the streets. The program reflects EPS’ realization that a concerted effort was needed to address hate crime rather than a traditional reactive approach in which crime were independently investigated. The program is grounded on careful research about hate crime incidents as well as establishing outreach and trust with the groups most frequently targeted. Central to this approach is the work of designated liaison officers who work directly with identified groups within the diverse community of Edmonton. Among the divers groups identified are the Aboriginal, Black Indo-Canadian, Muslim, Jewish and gay/lesbian communities. Also critical to this program was development of a more systematic hate-crime enforcement strategy and improved methods of reporting and tracking cases.
Agency: Jackson ( Mississippi) Division of the FBI
Persons Nominated : James O. Ingram (Retired Special Agent in Charge) and William J. Stokes (Special Agent)
Case: Edgar Ray Killen / “ Mississippi Burning” Case
Description : The award stems from the “Mississippi Burning” murder case, in which three civil rights workers disappeared outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1964. Edgar Ray Killen, a Ku Klux Klan member suspected of involvement in the murders and accused of murder and civil rights violations walked free in 1967 after the jury deadlocked, voting 11-1 in favor of his conviction. In June 2005, in a retrial occurring 41 years after the murders, Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter. This award is made in recognition of two agents who worked together to make the successful prosecution and conviction of this heinous possible. The agents are James O. Ingram, a retired Special Agent in Charge (SAC) who was retained by the Jackson Division of the FBI to investigate and reconstruct evidence and Special Agent William J. Stokes of the Jackson Office.
Agency: Nalgonda District Police, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India
Program: Programme Aasara (Shelter Program)
Description:Programme Aasara was launched by Nalgonda District Police in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India with the mission of preventing organized human trafficking and to uphold and protect human rights of those trafficked or under the threat of being trafficked. The underlying strategy adopted by the program is that of attacking the criminal enterprise, but not the participants who are victims of these enterprises. Accordingly, the project has two major components: enforcement and rehabilitation. Under Programme Aasara, the District Police undertook the noble causes of rescue and of socioeconomic reintegration and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. The program focuses on preventing second generation trafficking by providing education to children of victims, by uplifting lives of prostitutes, by restoring their status in the society, by generating social awareness, by providing shelters and by exploring and providing alternative sources of livelihood. Issues regarding health and hygiene are also as part of the program to improve the lives of trafficking victims