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BREAKING: Police and Religious Groups Unite Against Hate Crime
A crowd of 30 people gathered outside Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills Jan. 21 for a joint press conference with law enforcement and interfaith religious groups, following the attack on a synagogue on Jan. 15 in Colleyville, Texas.
Members of the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and the FBI attended, alongside faith leaders from Jewish, Muslim, Christian and other faith communities.
BHPD Chief of Police Mark Stainbrook spoke during the conference, saying that partnerships with the faith communities and the community at large is a key tool in the department’s efforts to combat hate crime.
“This week we had our community relations sergeant really get out and go to the different synagogues to meet with people and make sure they were just mentally ok,” Stainbrook told the Courier during the conference.
Leadership from LAPD and FBI also spoke in favor of increasing security by building bridges between police and the community.
Now considered an act of terror by authorities, a man with a gun held four people hostage at Congregation Beth Israel near Fort Worth for more than 10 hours last week before an FBI SWAT team entered the building. All hostages got out safely. The attacker, British-national Malik Faisal Akram, was shot and killed by law enforcement.
For their part, the BHPD responded when news of the Texas attack reached them. Stainbrook told the courier they put extra patrol units at Jewish religious sites in the city, and detectives were monitoring intelligence from the FBI and elsewhere as the standoff ensued, looking for any potential local connections.
“I was pretty comfortable with our response, and it was rapid,” Stainbrook said.
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