U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday announced a series of initiatives to support state and local law enforcement, community groups and the public in identifying and mitigating terror threats.
“Homeland security begins with hometown security, and our efforts to confront threats in our communities are most effective when they are led by local law enforcement and involve strong collaboration with the communities and citizens they serve,” said Napolitano.Â The announcement came in conjunction with last evening’s “National Night Out”.
The new measures are based on recommendations made by the Homeland Security AdvisoryÂ Councilâ€™s (HSAC) â€œCountering Violent Extremismâ€ Working Groupâ€”comprised of chiefs ofÂ police, sheriffs, community leaders and homeland security expertsâ€”on ways DHS can betterÂ support community-based efforts to combat violent extremism in the United States. SecretaryÂ Napolitano asked the HSAC to work with state and local law enforcement, as well as relevantÂ community groups to develop and provide these recommendations, six months ago.
The expansion of the community and citizen role in homeland securityÂ has been encouraged by the blog, and I think yesterday’s announcement is a terrific development.
Most of the new initiatives are directed towards bolstering the work of state and local law enforcement organizations — including a series of regional summits beginning this fall on successful community-oriented policing and other crime reduction programs.Â But Napolitano also announced some proposals focused directly on the public:
To increase public awareness and preparedness about signs of criminal activity and violentÂ extremism, DHS continues to expand its national â€œIf You See Something, Say Somethingâ€Â campaign in coordination with law enforcement, the private sector, and community groups,Â integrating this effort with the National Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative and theÂ transportation, sports, travel, and law enforcement sectors.
In the coming months, DHS will continue to expand the campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to engage travelers, businesses, community organizations and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.
And, I would suggest that DHS officials include the public, when possible, in some of the terror prevention information sharing programs for local and state law enforcement announced yesterday, such as:
DHS will produce a series of unclassified case studies examining recent incidents involvingÂ violent crime and terrorism to educate and inform state and local law enforcement personnelÂ and community members about common behaviors and indicators exhibited by the suspects.
DHS will produce a series of intelligence products regarding tactics, techniques and plansÂ of international and domestic terrorist organizationsâ€”including the recruitment and trainingÂ of individuals living in the United States â€“ to better inform state and local law enforcementÂ personnel about threats facing the homeland and their local communities.
We will be continuing to closely cover these initiatives on the blog as they develop.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Washington, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier yesterday announced a series of new community-focused, anti-terror measures (Associated Press photo).