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Lodi police, Project Breakthrough renew commitment to fight hate crimes

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2002 10:00 pm

Project Breakthrough, Lodi's community group formed to fight hate crimes, and the Lodi Police Department reaffirmed their partnership Thursday.

Lodi Police Chief Jerry Adams and Project Breakthrough leader David Hill signed an updated agreement outlining their commitment to fight hate crimes in Lodi.

The contract is more symbolic than anything else, Adams said.

Project Breakthrough, which was founded in 1997 after a cross burning at Tokay High School, is a nonprofit community organization that provides victims of hate crimes with support, and seeks to prevent the crimes from happening.

"We're trying to be proactive in building bridges between people from different cultural backgrounds," Hill said.

With the help of the police department, Project Breakthrough can offer assistance to those who are victimized by hate crimes, Adams said.

Capt. Ron Tobeck, who is the police representative on the Project Breakthrough board, provided an example of how the group helps the community.

"After Sept. 11 it was clear that people were worried and there were a lot of rumors going around about hate crimes that may have occurred, and Project Breakthrough helped stifle those fears," Tobeck said.

The partnership between a community group such as Project Breakthrough and a city police department is a unique concept, Hill said.

"And, what we're doing here is being used as a model throughout the country," Adams said. "As we get closer to Martin Luther King's birthday, it is a good time to reaffirm this agreement."

This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, 2002, to correct the location of the cross burning.

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