Heritage Affairs Section
The Pennsylvania State Police Heritage Affairs Section is primarily responsible for training troopers on implicit bias, building relationships within historically underserved communities, and preventing and responding to hate/bias-related crimes. Members of the Heritage Affairs Section also work with municipal police departments throughout the commonwealth on the same issues.
Heritage Affairs Liaison Officers (HALOs)
The Pennsylvania State Police Heritage Affairs Section is comprised of a Section Commander and four Heritage Affairs Liaison Officers (HALOs) strategically located throughout the commonwealth. HALOs work diligently to build relationships with minority organizations and local community leaders. Section members may be reached at the phone numbers below or via email at
|Lt. William Slaton||Heritage Affairs Section Commander||717-562-5808|
|Cpl. Aaron Allen||Western HALO||717-908-0445|
|Tpr. Tristan Bennett||Northeast HALO||
|Tpr. Jessica Quinn||Northeast/Central HALO||570-963-3156|
|Cpl. Ismail El-Guemra||Central HALO||717-249-2121|
|Sgt. Timothy Greene||Southeast HALO ||610-268-2022|
The Heritage Affairs Section works closely with the Legislative Black Caucus and Governor's Advisory Commissions on African American Affairs, Asian Pacific American Affairs, and Latin American Affairs. Members also interact with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, NAACP, and several Department of Justice Community Relations Divisions. The Heritage Affairs Section regularly provides subject matter experts to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Hate Crime Information
Hate crimes—including violence or the threat of violence—are motivated by the hatred of a person or group of people based upon race, religion, or sexual orientation of the victim or victims. Crimes including robbery, assault, or vandalism may be considered hate crimes if they are motivated entirely or partially by prejudice.
Hate crimes have both a physical impact and a psychological impact on the victim(s). They can also lead to distress and instability in the communities where they occur. Heritage Affairs Section members regularly meet with lawmakers, community groups, and other stakeholders to address concerns before, and even after, a hate crime occurs. In this video, recorded in early 2020, (then-Sergeant) Lieutenant William Slaton talks about the responsibilities members of the Heritage Affairs Section have to the communities they serve, both during significant events and long after the news cameras stop rolling.
Heritage Affairs Section video transcript
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hate crime?
In Pennsylvania, a hate crime is an offense that causes physical harm to the victim, or an offense that threatens to commit harm to a victim or group, that is motivated by race, religion, ethnic/national origin, gender, gender identity, age, disability or sexual orientation of the victim(s).
What is the difference between hate crime and hate speech?
Hate speech is written or verbal communication that may be motivated by hate but is legally protected by the First Amendment. Examples include name calling, insults, and the distribution of offensive literature in public places.
How prevalent is hate crime in Pennsylvania?
Hate crimes are believed to be grossly unreported in Pennsylvania and nationwide. Investigators base their decision on the presence or absence of certain indicators and the details of the investigation. Other factors that contribute to this situation include the reluctance of victims to report the offense to law enforcement and the reluctance of law enforcement to appropriately classify the offense as a hate crime. The latter is usually based on concern that a community will be stigmatized as a "haven of hatred."
What should I do if I believe I have been the victim of a hate crime?
If you believe you are, or might be, the victim of a hate crime, report it to local law enforcement immediately. A prompt investigation is crucial and may prevent the suspect(s) from committing similar offenses.
Law enforcement agencies submit data, including hate crime information, through the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System. This information is available on the Uniform Crime Reporting Public Portal.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) enforces state laws that prohibit discrimination. In general, Pennsylvania law prohibits discrimination based on race; color; religious creed; ancestry; age (40 and over); sex; national origin; familial status (only in housing); handicap or disability; and the use, handling, or training of support or guide animals for disability. Learn more at www.phrc.pa.gov.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General brings actions before the PHRC, as well as in state and federal courts, to challenge discrimination when a case presents an important legal issue of statewide significance. Learn more at www.attorneygeneral.gov.
The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. Learn more at www.eeoc.gov.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Hate Crimes website was developed to create resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups, and other related organizations and individuals. Learn more at www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.