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The creation of a bias and hate crime team is being funded by a recently awarded federal grant.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton announced plans Nov. 1 to create a bias and hate crimes team using recently awarded federal grant funding.The Washington County District Attorney's Office has announced plans to launch a multidisciplinary team aimed at combating bias and hate crimes.

The team will be created using $300,000 in competitive grant funding recently awarded to the District Attorney's Office, officials said in a statement Monday, Nov. 1.

The grant funding comes from the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Program, which is administered by the U.S Department of Justice.

It comes as incidents of bias and hate crimes are increasing across the country, including in Oregon, officials said.

"This federal grant allows us to pursue our mission of seeking justice and protecting our community by ensuring all Washington County residents are safe from crime, especially including bias and hate crime," said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton in a statement. "As district attorney, I am committed to protecting all members of our community."

The team, called the Bias Crime Multidisciplinary Team, will consist of members from law enforcement agencies and community partner organizations, officials said.

It will meet regularly to discuss and implement strategies to combat bias and hate crime, including training, education and outreach events.

Allison Brown, senior deputy district attorney, whom officials said has extensive experience prosecuting cases with vulnerable crime victims, will chair the team.

The funding will also allow the District Attorney's Office to support victim advocate positions dedicated to serving bias crime victims, officials said, adding that the advocates will support the complex needs of crime victims.

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