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State Police Expands Heritage Affairs Section to Strengthen Ties to the Community; Prevent and Investigate Hate Crimes

08/17/2020

Harrisburg, PA – Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, recently announced the addition of four full-time Heritage Affairs Liaison Officers (HALOs) to the department's Heritage Affairs Section.

The mission of the Heritage Affairs Section is to build relationships with historically underserved communities throughout the commonwealth and to work with local law enforcement agencies to prevent and investigate hate and bias-related crimes. Section members also lead the department's training on implicit bias awareness and de-escalation techniques.

"Establishing lines of communication to facilitate meaningful collaboration with local leaders is an important part of community policing, which is why we have dedicated additional resources to the Heritage Affairs Section," said Colonel Evanchick. "Troopers were hand-picked to fill these roles. Their backgrounds reflect the diversity of Pennsylvania, and they will continue to be at the forefront of the department's efforts to make meaningful connections within the communities we serve."

Led by section commander, Lieutenant William Slaton, each HALO is assigned to a specific part of the state:

Corporal Aaron Allen, Western Heritage Affairs Liaison Officer (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forrest, Greene, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Venango, Warren, and Washington Counties). Corporal Allen previously served as a patrol section supervisor and recruitment coordinator. He holds a master's degree in criminal justice administration and management. A former college basketball player, Corporal Allen also coaches high school basketball.

Trooper Amanda Concha, Northeast Heritage Affairs Liaison Officer (Bradford, Cameron, Carbon, Clinton, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties). Trooper Concha is a first-generation American citizen, growing up in a bilingual household with parents who immigrated from Ecuador. A graduate of Temple University, Trooper Concha volunteers with the USO. She joined the Pennsylvania State Police in 2017. 

Trooper Ismail El-Guemra, Central Heritage Affairs Liaison Officer (Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Indiana, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties). Born in Morocco, Trooper El-Guemra came to the United States as part of the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. He is fluent in four languages.

Corporal Timothy Greene, Southeast Heritage Affairs Liaison Officer (Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York Counties). A former firefighter and paramedic, Corporal Green became the first minority fire chief of Concordville Fire Company in Delaware County at the age of 24. He joined the state police in 2004 and previously served as the Troop K public information officer and community services officer. Corporal Greene is active in the department's Camp Cadet program. 

"We hope the varied backgrounds and experiences of the HALO team will help us connect with historically underserved communities in an authentic and productive way," said Lieutenant Slaton. "In addition to proactive community outreach, the Heritage Affairs Section continues to work closely with local police departments to prevent and investigate hate crimes, as well as respond to incidents of civil unrest or community tension."

For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police Heritage Affairs Section, visit psp.pa.gov.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Trooper Brent Miller or Ryan Tarkowski, 717-783-5556

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