Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum released a Law Enforcement Bias Response Toolkit to help law enforcement respond to victims of bias crimes and other hateful incidents. The toolkit includes resources such as a victim referral pocket card, suggested language for law enforcement responding to bias incidents and crimes, and other tools. The online toolkit has been distributed to all law enforcement agencies in Oregon, with the victim referral pocket guide also available in print and braille.
“This toolkit is meant to support law enforcement and first responders who may be among the first people to interact with a victim of a bias crime, or another type of hateful act,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. “How we respond to a victim and the tools immediately provided to a victim support healing for the victim and the community, and positively impact investigations. Our hope is that law enforcement will use these tools to help them communicate with victims of a bias crime or incident in a supportive manner and bring the Oregon community together to fight hate.”
In 2019, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 577, which updated Oregon’s hate and bias crimes law for the first time in over 20 years. As a result of the new law, the Oregon Department of Justice in January 2020 launched a unique hotline that is staffed by trained advocates Monday through Friday. Now, any victim or witness of a bias incident or a hate crime can call Oregon DOJ’s Bias Response Hotline to report an incident, connect with trained staff and receive a referral to local, culturally responsive community services or law enforcement. The hotline is victim-centered, meaning victims’ choices, needs, and safety are prioritized in our response. The new law also now includes a definition of “bias incident” and adds gender identity in the list of protected classes. It also implements a system for better tracking of hate crime data by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.
The new law enforcement toolkit includes:
- Law Enforcement Bulletin: To provide a general overview of the new Bias Crime law and law enforcement obligations under the new law, including how to contact Oregon DOJ’s Oregon Bias Response Hotline to report bias incidents (1-844-924-BIAS, 711 for Oregon Relay), and access to over 240 languages on the hotline;
- Law Enforcement Supplemental Report Form: A sample form for law enforcement to supplement a narrative report, guiding patrol officers through a bias investigation, including tracking targeted class(es), identifying evidence, and looking for bias indicators.
- Bias Victim Referral Pocket Card: A printable resource card with scannable QR code to provide to victims on scene to help them report the incident and receive support from the Oregon Bias Response Hotline. The cards are also available in print.
- Bias Response Law Enforcement Pocket Card: A printable reminder card for law enforcement—with a scannable QR code linking to our toolkit—to help remind patrol officers of the requirements under the bias crime law and services available to victims when on scene at a bias incident or bias crime.
- Suggested Language for Law Enforcement Responding to Bias Incidents and Crimes: Information which reviews helpful language and demeanor tips to use when interacting with victims of and witnesses to bias.
A victim or witness of a bias incident or a hate crime can visit www.StandAgainstHate.oregon.gov, or call Oregon DOJ’s hotline at 1-844-924-BIAS (2427), to report an incident and talk with trained staff.
Attorney General Rosenblum wants to thank her DOJ Civil Rights Director, Fay Stetz-Waters, and DOJ Bias Hotline Response Coordinator, Johanna Costa, for their extraordinary efforts in preparing and distributing the toolkit.
The Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) is led by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and serves as the state’s law firm. The Oregon DOJ advocates for and protects all Oregonians, especially the most vulnerable, such as children and seniors.