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Volusia sheriff tells residents not to ignore rising antisemitic incidents

Mike Chitwood addresses the press at a conference on rising antisemitism in Florida.
Danielle Prieur
Mike Chitwood says victims of antisemitism should call the police.

Antisemitic messages and flyers continue to be a concern across the state. In recent weeks, people have handed out antisemitic flyers in both Orlando and Daytona Beach.

WMFE’s Danielle Prieur spoke with Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood about how he’s keeping his residents safe from hate.

Here are highlights of their conversation.

On how the department is protecting Jewish residents: "Obviously, you do the number one thing, which is extra patrol. You know, we make sure that we're focused and in constant contact with our Jewish community, when are you having services? When are you having events?"

On special training his officers receive: "Since I now have my own police academy, every academy class takes a trip to the Holocaust Museum in Tampa, because we have a healthy Jewish population here in Volusia County. And you need to know and understand the history of what happened."

On the seriousness of all antisemitism: "Two days after the Speedway incident, a member of this group in California who was known to stand outside of a synagogue and plaster it with all kinds of hate, shot two Orthodox Jews as they were entering the synagogue."

On what Floridians should do if they see or experience antisemitism: "You've got to notify law enforcement. The worst thing you could do is allow it to flourish. We have these reports that we get in law enforcement from around the country called CFIX. Central Florida Intelligence Exchange is what it stands for. So all law enforcement is together on this. So every report that is generated that has to do with this antisemitism we all have access to that, you know, so we see the names."

Click here for resources on combatting antisemitism from the ADL,the Jewish Federation of DC, and the National Holocaust Museum.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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