Hate crimes the topic of discussion at law enforcement conferenc - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hate crimes the topic of discussion at law enforcement conference

Miller and other law enforcement officers from throughout the state spent Thursday learning about how to not only recognize and respond to hate crimes, but also how to try to prevent them. (Photo source: WLOX) Miller and other law enforcement officers from throughout the state spent Thursday learning about how to not only recognize and respond to hate crimes, but also how to try to prevent them. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

What happened in South Carolina is a gut wrenching reminder that hate crimes do happen.

"I don't want to be one of those chiefs who had my head in the sand, had my back turned and didn't prepare my department, my employees, to deal properly with some type of hate crime," said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller.

Miller and other law enforcement officers from throughout the state spent Thursday learning about how to not only recognize and respond to hate crimes, but also how to try to prevent them.

The topic of discussion at the Mississippi Chiefs of Police Conference was decided a while ago, but with the tragedy in South Carolina, it became more relevant than ever.

"Law enforcement has been leery of those types of things for quite a while," Miller said. "Three years ago, I was asked to teach a class at some of the local churches about that very thing."

U.S. Attorney Gregory Davis' office presented the conference on hate crimes.

"One thing that is important for law enforcement, who are the boots on the ground and spend more time with the community, can recognize potential persons who may be susceptible to that and can actually work to prevent hate crimes from occurring," Davis said.

Davis feels strongly about hate crimes.

"Bias motivated crimes have no place in America, and we should all work together, law enforcement, community, advocacy groups, in order to prevent and eradicate this from our communities and our state," Davis said.

Davis wants those on a state and local level to know there are federal laws about hate crimes and federal resources to assist investigating and prosecuting such crimes.

He said those in the community can also do their part to take a stand against this type of violence.

"We can recognize each other for the human beings that we are," Davis said. "We can spend more time with each other and get to know each other as human beings and understand each other better."

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.


Powered by Frankly