You may also go to YouTube to watch the full briefing.

In response to an uptick in bias crimes against the Asian-American community, Westchester County Executive George Latimer has directed Westchester County Police to increase patrols around Asian-owned businesses, and coordinate the sharing of intelligence information about bias crimes with the Westchester County law enforcement community.

Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason said Patrol officers are making regular visits to Asian-owned business in Mount Kisco and Cortlandt,  the two communities where the Westchester County Police provide municipal police services. County officers are stopping in to hear any concerns the business owners may have and to let them know that extra attention is being paid to these locations.

“Our policies are to judge people by the content of their character, by how they behave. That’s what we believe in,” Latimer said. “We want to take a stand against hatred towards any and all ethnic groups, and we stand together as one family. We are going to do what we can do to use public education and to use outreach to show that there is unity amongst all of us being together.”

“Outreach to the business community is always a part of our community policing efforts,” Gleason said. “But we want to assure the Asian-American community at this time of heightened concern that we taking steps to prevent any incidents from occurring.”

Chief Inspector John Hodges, head of the Investigative Service Division, attended a media briefing today with Latimer to discuss other steps the County Police are taking. He urged anyone who has been the victim of a bias crime to call 911 or contact their local police department. Bias-related incidents can be reported to the Westchester District Attorney’s hotline (914-995-TIPS) or the County’s Human Rights Commission.

Hodges also noted that:

  • Through the Real Time Crime Center at County Police headquarters, information about bias crimes or incidents is being shared promptly with all municipal police departments in Westchester County. In addition, intelligence information received from federal and state sources is assessed for any threats to or impacts on Westchester County.
  • Increased patrols in many municipalities are being coordinated under Operation Safeguard, a public safety initiative that implements increased patrols at major secular and religious holidays or other times of heightened security concern. The Westchester law enforcement community is implementing those Operation Safeguard protocols at this time in response to some of the hate crimes occurring around the region and the nation.
  • Asian-American businesses, houses of worship and civic organizations are being advised that a security assessment can be provided to them through their local police department or the County Police. The assessment includes a review of the physical security at facilities and recommendations for how it can be enhanced.  Under this process, the initial request should be made to the local police agency first. If that local department is unable to conduct that security assessment, the request will be forwarded to the County Police.