Prosecutor, Freeholders Offer Bias Education Grants To Police

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MIDDLESEX COUNTY– Grants will be awarded to local police departments to develop educational and prevention programs to combat bias crimes, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Middlesex County Freeholder Mildred S. Scott announced this week.

A $5,000 Bias Prevention and Education Grant will be available to each of the county’s 25 municipal law enforcement agencies, Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office and the Rutgers University Police Department to help enforce bias crime laws and keep the public informed of ways to recognize and report bias incidents.

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“One of the goals of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has always been to ensure the quality of life for all citizens of Middlesex County,” Kaplan said. “These funds will continue that goal, by helping to promote a strong bond between the police and the community.”

“This grant gives law enforcement another tool in protecting all our residents against bias crime and in keeping our communities safe,” said Scott, chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee.

Kaplan and Scott urged local police departments to submit applications detailing how they would use the grant funds, which will be made available from money seized from criminal defendants who had obtained proceeds through illegal activities, such as selling drugs.

Guidelines require participating law enforcement agencies to provide and promote programming that teaches tolerance or educates the community on New Jersey’s bias statues, as well as the public’s rights and responsibilities.

Participants should seek to enhance community safety by increasing police presence during periods leading up to religious and ethnic holidays and holy days.

Applicants also must show that they have reached out to leaders of religious and ethnic groups in order to identify their concerns and summarize those concerns, as well as any concerns of law enforcement.

Funds from the grant can only be used for costs related directly to bias prevention and education, and cannot be used to supplant existing patrols or equipment.

Applicants are asked to file plans by Sept. 3, and must be ready to enact their plans by Sept. 8.


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