THIRTY LAW ENFORCEMENT officers from Monmouth County took part in a Law Enforcement Officers (LEO) educational program in August using lessons from the Holocaust to better understand their role in a pluralistic civil society where bias-related activity is becoming more prevalent.
The officers interacted with Holocaust survivors and toured the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., during the two-day program organized by Chhange, the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights, and Genocide Education at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft. The program was sponsored by the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey with additional funding from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
“The program was an incredibly powerful experience, especially our tour of the museum, which in my case was led by ‘Al,’ a Holocaust survivor from the Netherlands,” said R. Craig Weber, chief of police of Middletown Township. “It was a stark reminder that collectively we all share a responsibility to oppose evil and never forget these horrible crimes against humanity.”
Participants gained a deeper understanding of hate crimes and law enforcement’s role in responding to such crimes. They learned how Europe’s entire legal process of the 1930s and ’40s succumbed to, and ultimately aided, the Nazis’ persecutions. The officers also had time to reflect on their own biases and preconceived notions.
Chief Weber added, “For law enforcement officers it underscored the importance of our sacred obligation to protect everyone’s civil liberties and human rights. I couldn’t help recalling the words of Edmund Burke, who said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’”
According to Dale Daniels, Chhange executive director, “It was important that these law enforcement professionals understood that the people the Nazis targeted shared the same lifestyle yet maintained their own traditions. They depended on law enforcement to keep them safe. This is true today throughout the U.S.”