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Sheriff’s program aims to strengthen Orange County’s Asian community

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Eyewitness News is getting real about issues facing the Asian American community.

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In recent years, there’s been a serious spike in crimes against Asians across the country.

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According to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crime in the U.S. increased by 339% from 2020 to 2021, exacerbated during the pandemic.

In Orange County, Sheriff John Mina told WFTV’s Christian Bruey that his department has not received any recent calls of anti-Asian hate crimes.

But that’s not stopping Mina from taking a proactive stance.

His office recently organized the Asian American and Pacific Islander Liaison program.

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“The benefit of having these liaisons is ... someone who, you know understands my culture, someone who speaks my language and then I can report this to them,” Mina said.

The current program includes nine members of the Sheriff’s Office, many of whom speak different languages or dialects.

The new group has already participated in a few Asian-themed community events.

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The AAPI Liaison program comes on the heels of a successful LGBTQ liaison program that was started under Sheriff Jerry Demings in 2019.

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