Last night, I attended the first session of the FBI Citizens Academy. This is an 8 week program designed to give community members an inside look at the FBI.
This week, we covered Civil Rights and White Collar/Public Corruption crimes.
Civil Rights crimes include hate crimes and abuse of power crimes involving law enforcement, what the agent called Color of Law. (Law enforcement personnel are given powers by federal, state and local authorities to enforce laws and to provide justice. When they employ these powers, they are acting under the color of law.)
Clearly, a discussion of these types of crimes is sobering, but what surprised me was that the number of Civil Rights cases investigated last year seemed to be small – less than a 1000. The agent was clear to note that Civil Rights crime, particularly hate crimes, may be small in number they have a large impact on society and, as such, are a substantial priority.
For me, the discussion of white collar and public corruption crimes was most enjoyable. Maybe this is because I work in a white collar world and these crimes offend me on a personal level.
In my own way, I’m an expert. I’ve worked in education long enough to know the ropes and I can use this experience to help students (at least that’s always my goal.) To have expertise and to have the ability to help others is a great gift. To corrupt this gift and to misguide those who count on you, or society as a whole, is particularly deserving of punishment. It’s good to know that there are agents working to ferret out these crimes.
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