Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category

5 facts about mass shootings

May 23, 2018

This short article presents 5 things we know about mass shootings in the U.S. One is that mass shootings have become more frequent over the last 35 years, even as the overall homicide rate has decreased. Another is that most mass shootings are not terrorism — “The majority of active shooters are linked to mental health issues, bullying and disgruntled employees.”


Looking for strategic

May 7, 2018

Here’s an interesting long-read about a former CIA case officer now working as a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. His former life took him to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Jordan in pursuit of Al Qaeda leaders but he came to doubt that much was being accomplished. Back home in Savannah he says “We have to stop treating people like we’re in Fallujah.”

Going overseas builds capacity at home too

January 19, 2018

This column highlights two international police partnerships, Portland (Oregon) PD with Bangladesh and several Minnesota departments with Somalia, each sponsored by the US State Department. In both cases, tangible benefits have been recognized by police in the US and in the other country.

Science of interrogation

October 29, 2017

This article provides an in-depth discussion of the psychology underlying effective interrogation. A study of over 1,000 hours of taped interrogations of terrorists confirmed that the key is rapport and projecting a genuine interest in what the suspect has to say, not trying to establish dominance or using confrontational techniques. Specialist training in the UK is now based on this research and well established methods from clinical psychology.

Impact of social media

September 21, 2017

A colloquium on “The impact of social media on crime, terrorism, and national security” recently held at Rutgers University featured law enforcement, national security, and civil liberties experts. Here is a video link to the 90-minute event.

Community policing to counter violent extremism

August 5, 2017

This report provides a thorough description and assessment of an LAPD initiative to counter violent extremism by using community policing. The process evaluation concluded that “adopting a community policing model is a necessary approach to better protect and serve communities at risk for violent radicalization.” The study identified numerous challenges to such an approach, including opposing narratives within communities over whether to cooperate with police, but also identified practical ways to overcome differences and build resilience.

Lessons for terrorism first responders

July 10, 2017

This brief article identifies three lessons for first responders to terror attacks, including emergency medical personnel, based on recent incidents: (1) co-training for police and medical personnel, (2) open communication lines across responder disciplines, and (3) realistic and challenging large-scale disaster drills.

Predicting terrorism

June 24, 2017

This blog post by terrorism expert Brian Jenkins discusses the difficult challenge of predicting attacks. He notes that, outside of conflict zones, terror incidents remain infrequent — in 2015, “74 percent of all fatalities occurred in five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan.” The post-9/11 prediction was for chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks, but homemade bombs and automatic weapons are still most common — “Terrorism appears to have escalated horizontally rather than vertically. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, there has been a proliferation of low-level attacks.”

Why stopping terrorism is so challenging

May 31, 2017

This article by the director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism succinctly summarizes what has been learned from analysis of every terror attack in the world since 1970 — 156,000 attacks committed by 2,300 unique organizations. It identifies 6 issues that make counter-terrorism challenging and concludes that “Successful policy requires collecting the best information possible, honestly assessing it and avoiding over reaction.”

Lessons learned from mass shootings

May 4, 2017

This article reviews the 2015 San Bernardino and 2016 Orlando mass shootings and subsequent police responses, along with lessons learned. It notes that “In both instances, patrol and traffic officers, investigators, and command personnel—not tactical teams—were the first law enforcement personnel to arrive on scene” and considers whether current active shooter protocols need to be adapted to fit terrorist, IED, and suicide-bomber scenarios.