(KXNET) — On Tuesday, a North Dakota lawmaker was once again pushing for tougher laws she says will help police officers identify hate crime cases.
Representative Mary Schneider wrote House Bill 1537, which requires more training for police officers on identifying and responding to bias crimes.
It would mandate a bias identification class for every officer in the state every two years.
The law also elevates a situation where a person injures another person because of their race, sex, disability, or cultural heritage to aggravated assault.
“An assault against an individual is bad,” stated Representative Schneider. “An assault against an individual because of the group they represent, the protected class they represent is worse.”
“I’m a firm supporter of the bias training, without a doubt,” BCI Special Agent, Duane Stanley said. “Training for law enforcement is great, and this is no different. I just feel that if the current language is kept in the bill we wouldn’t retain the ability to attain that goal of teaching all law enforcement with the current staff.”
If passed, the bill would require that police departments send any criminal bias reports to the attorney general’s office. The AG would then have to share all information on bias crimes with the governor and legislative management by July 1. That information would also be shared with the FBI.