Legislation sponsored by State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic to create a hate crime response and recognition training for local law enforcement was successfully signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday.
The measure, backed by Rozic and state Senator Todd Kaminsky, directs the Municipal Police Training Council to work alongside the New York State Division of Human Rights and Hate Crimes Task Force to develop, maintain and distribute policies and procedures ensuring local law enforcement are properly trained in recognizing and responding to hate crimes.
“With the steady surge of hate crimes across New York, there is little room for complacency,” Rozic said. “This new law will equip local law enforcement with the proper tools to identify, report, and respond to these crimes that continue to divide and install widespread fear. Thank you Governor Cuomo for his commitment and sending the message that hate has no place in any community.”
Kaminsky, a former prosecutor, said, “Anti-Semitism, hate and intolerance have no place in our state and nation. I was proud to see this legislation I sponsored signed into law and I will continue to do all I can to protect our communities from anti-Semitism.”
Rozic and Kaminsky introduced the bill (A3606/S3909) earlier this year in January. It was passed in June following months of advocacy and a roundtable discussion with community leaders and activists on the increase of hate crimes across the city. The coalition had discussed how their communities can work together on legislative solutions and the grassroots response necessary following a hate-based incident.
The legislation is supported by the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and Muslim Jewish Advisory Council, the Muslim Bar Association of New York, the Sikh Coalition, Asian Americans for Equality and the Chinese-American Planning Council.
Even as the scourge of hate crimes increases across New York and much of the nation, many experts agree that hate crimes are underreported, according to the Muslim Bar Association of New York.
“One important factor in underreporting is the investigating officer does not identify a bias motivation or does not include bias in an incident report,” the organization said. “This timely and important law will help ensure officers across our state are trained to recognize and respond to hate crimes.”
Sim Singh, senior advocacy and policy manager of the Sikh Coalition, said, “Combatting hate is not a Sikh problem, a Jewish problem, or a Muslim problem — it is a problem any of us can face at any time. If we are going to protect communities impacted by hate, it is imperative that law enforcement understands the communities they swore an oath to protect and serve.”
Carlyn Cowen, chief policy and public affairs officer at the Chinese-American Planning Council, said, “It is critical that New York State take action to respond. We are are grateful to see Governor Cuomo sign this bill that would protect New Yorkers, and thank Assemblymember Rozic and Senator Kaminsky for their leadership on this urgent issue.”