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OPD Chief Calls On Public To Help Fight Hate Crimes

Officer Dennis Turner arrested two children under the age of 12 without getting his watch commander's approval. Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

Orlando’s new police chief, Orlando Rolón, said the public has to help law enforcement fight hate crimes.

Rolón's comments came as Orlando’s Jewish community mourned the victims of last weekend’s mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Armed guards kept watch over Tuesday night’s service in Orlando for the 11 people killed at the Tree of Life synagogue.  Rolón said police count on residents to help them fight hate crimes. “We have to rely heavily on the average person who may have contact with an individual who may have expressed or is expressing negative views against another human being," said Rolón.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, hate crimes and anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise nationwide. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that nearly half of the victims of hate crimes don’t report them to law enforcement.

The Orlando Police Department has an online database for reported hate crimes. Four have been reported so far in 2018, including one verified hate crime.

After the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub, where 49 people were killed and dozens injured, the Orlando Police Department launched a Safe Place program where victims of targeted attacks can find help at businesses with a displayed decal.

Under Florida law, attacks on people because of their gender identity are not considered hate crimes.