Secretary Napolitano Meets with Law Enforcement on Countering Violent Extremism
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently joined Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan at the White House to meet with senior state, local and tribal law enforcement officials to discuss the Obama administration’s strategic implementation plan for empowering local partners to prevent violent extremism in the United States—released in December 2011—and engage them on the critical task of preventing violent extremism in their communities. Attendees included sheriffs and chiefs of police from across the country, including representatives from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Major Cities Chiefs Association, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Native American Law Enforcement Association, Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council, and Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council.
“Engaging local communities is critical to our nation’s effort to counter violent extremism and violent crime, and this meeting brings together many of our partners,” said Secretary Napolitano. “The Department of Homeland Security will continue to collaborate with our state and local law enforcement partners and engage the public in our efforts to combat violent extremism, while protecting civil rights and civil liberties.”
During the meeting, Secretary Napolitano underscored DHS’ efforts to support local communities by enhancing existing partnerships to focus on information-driven community-based solutions, building government and law enforcement expertise, supporting community oriented policing practices and expanding grant prioritization to counter violent extremism and violent crime regardless of ideology. In addition, DHS is continuing to implement recommendations from the DHS Homeland Security Advisory Council Countering Violent Extremism Working Group, such as developing a curriculum for state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement focused on a community-oriented policing approach to countering violent extremism and violent crime. DHS’ Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties also works to educate communities and state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement on cultural awareness across the nation.
Secretary Napolitano also reiterated President Obama’s call for Congress to take action to prevent layoffs of law enforcement and first responders, and keep our communities safe by passing legislation such as the American Jobs Act. The legislation would provide $5 billion in assistance to states and local communities to create or save thousands of law enforcement and first responder jobs across the country.
Over the past year, DHS has worked with the Department of Justice on the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI)—an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to terrorism, crime and other threats; standardize how those observations are documented and analyzed; and ensure the sharing of those reports with the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Forces for further investigation.
DHS has also collaborated with federal, state, local, and private sector partners, and the general public, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. Originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and now licensed to DHS for a nationwide campaign, the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is a simple and effective program to engage the public to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
DHS will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally to ensure America’s businesses, communities, and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.