With Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried in a Virginia cemetery, the question of what to do with his body is answered. Yet, for more than a week, it was the subject of heated public debate. The case of Tsarnaev raises intriguing questions. What should be done with the bodies of mass murderers? Why are they such a point of contentious debate? Would there have been a similar outcry if Tsarnaev self-identified as Sovereign Citizen or Neo-Nazi?
State and Local
May 21st, 2013 - by Justin Hienz
May 2nd, 2013 - by L. Vance Taylor
In an era of diminished budgets and vanishing security grants, a recent break in at the Carters Lake Water Treatment Plant in Georgia highlights how the federal government is leaving small water systems, and the communities they serve, hanging in the wind. I’m not suggesting DHS throw obscene amounts of money at rural water systems, but I would argue that these systems can make major strides with small amounts of money.
April 24th, 2013 - by Rich Cooper
As the Boston area recovers from the tragic and unprecedented events of the past week, the lessons learned will be far reaching. Emergency management professionals, like their counterparts in law enforcement, are pretty good culturally at pulling together “after-action” reports that chronicle what they did right and what they can do better next time. Those lessons learned will offer new chapters to study and consider in terms of planning and preparations for any future incidents of this magnitude but in terms of the private sector, there are a number of lessons learned that need to be studied as well.
September 11th, 2012 - by Rich Cooper
For anyone alive eleven years ago, September 11 will always be a date on the calendar when you immediately remember where you were and what you were doing when all hell broke loose. History records many unforgettable days, but as the rawness of that day’s memories ebbs, the lessons learned continue to ripple in many ways. In the discussion on safety and security, one of the often-overlooked aspects is the impact that day had on business.
August 25th, 2012 - by Sam Rosenfeld
There has been a great deal of media coverage relating to an FBI/DHS document detailing likely anarchist activity during the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. The vast majority of that coverage has related to the threat of anarchists using Molotov cocktails, acid filled eggs, or even IEDs and IIDs. It appears an FBI/DHS report over-states and sensationalizes some of the likely threats from anarchists, as most recently expressed in their Joint Intelligence Bulletin released August 21, 2012.
August 14th, 2012 - by Sam Rosenfeld
It’s not easy being the police department responsible for hosting a National Special Security Event (NSSE). The fundamental requirement for a police department hosting an NSSE is to understand the threat so the response is proportionate and effective. Anarchists and Extreme Left Wing groups are not synonymous with protesters, but in the effort to combat the former, law-abiding protesters are often dragged into the fray. Signals from Tampa in advance of the Republican National Convention suggest the planned police response does not understand the threat.
Last night, protest organizers for Chicago G8 were celebrating their perceived victory of the move of the G8 to Camp David. However, despite what seems to be a common perception, the move will not affect the protests in Chicago. There are a number of serious issues facing Chicago Police, including their tactics and command preparation and the attendance of the anarchist community.
By Jay Alan
At some point during my day I can usually see the scaffolding atop the landmark National Cathedral here in Washington, D.C. — a reminder of damage from the August earthquake. And a reminder that disaster can strike anywhere at anytime. We all know and preach the doctrine of preparedness, but building resiliency and knowledge takes time. This effort takes another great step forward on Feb. 7. The Great Central U.S. Shakeout will occur at 10:15am CST, with (as of this writing) 1.7 million people in nine states practicing the ‘duck, cover and hold’ earthquake drill.
January 25th, 2012 -
By Seth Stodder
This week, the Supreme Court dipped its toes into the muddy waters of how modern surveillance technologies – in this case, GPS tracking – fit within the 200-year-old confines of the Fourth Amendment. In United States v. Jones, the Court ruled that the DC Police and the FBI violated the Fourth Amendment when they placed a GPS tracker on a Jeep Cherokee driven by criminal suspect Antoine Jones, and then tracked it for 28 days – all without a valid search warrant.
The makers of Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) have reported significant increases in sales following the Occupy Movement’s first phase of activity last year. Some, I suspect, think they’re buying a magic crowd management weapon. Yet, the best deterrent to truly criminal behavior is to identify criminals, such as those committing or inciting violence, gathering evidence against them, and successfully arresting and prosecuting them.
As happy/relieved as I am to know that the Russians aren’t out to disrupt our water services, it is important to note that a water system in South Houston was the victim of a real cyber attack. (You’ll recall it occurred in direct response to DHS downplaying of the reported situation in Illinois).The would-be attack, and the actual one, are stark reminders that the threat of cyber attacks are real.
The newest threat to police from hardline protestors is “doxing” – the photographing of police and publishing their personal details, and sometimes that of their families, to the Internet. This tactic has been used to attempt to intimidate officers during events with protestors calling out officers’ names as they film and telling them they will be “doxed.” This tactic is an import from the hardline protest movements in Britain and should be of significant concern to police at all levels of operations and command, although it does have a very simple remedy.
When the news broke yesterday with rumors and news reports that former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge could be in the running to be the next President of Penn State, I have to admit to some very mixed feelings. They weren’t negative mixed feelings but rather selfish ones. As one of the people fortunate enough to serve under Ridge in the early days of DHS, I got to observe one of the most dynamic individuals I’ve ever met in my life. If his move to Penn State should come to pass, the institution will gain someone who not only can navigate the most dangerous of seas but bring people together in service in ways never done before.
August 24th, 2011 - by Chris Battle
Ever tried to get on Twitter only to find that frustrating white whale floating in a sea of blue with the message that the network is overcrowded and you should come back later? In the social media world, this is known as the Fail Whale. During yesterday’s mini emergency in Washington, when a 5.8 earthquake shook the city and sent scared and confused folks fleeing from buildings, we experienced a Fail Whale on the part of the Washington DC, government. Increasingly, citizens aren’t turning to government officials for disaster management but to one another. And they’re doing it through social media.
June 28th, 2011 - by Jeff Gaynor
Yesterday, the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) released the recommendations of its Community Resilience Task Force (CRTF), which argue that it is impossible to build a resilient nation upon protected yet aged, overstressed, exploitable and consequence-amplifying infrastructure foundations.
It is hard to argue that local, state, and federal counterterrorism operations are not still a work in progress. While working together, law enforcement agencies at all levels have combined to thwart a number of plots since 9/11, many challenges that frustrate cooperation still perplex the national counterterrorism enterprise. The remedy is a new organizational culture that places a premium on building trust and confidence between federal, state, and local counterterrorism efforts.
San Francisco is beautiful, historic and diverse. But as nice as that city is, I remain disturbed by its anti-military reputation. The SF Police and Human Rights Commission held hearings on Joint Terrorism Task Force operations in San Francisco. The hearings specifically addressed the FBI Domestic Investigations and Operations Guidelines that allow the JTTF to commence an investigation/surveillance without a direct nexus to criminal activity. I wonder if residents of San Francisco and the SFPD will ever “get it.”
June 15th, 2011 - by Robert Blitzer
The media is reporting changes to the Attorney General Guidelines. it looks like expanded authority to conduct physical surveillances, polygraphs of informants and limited attendance at public functions is not much change in terms of intrusion into the civil liberties of our population. I understand that some people may be alarmed; however, I know that the FBI’s agents charged with collecting intelligence within the United States are closely supervised – I was one of them.
Supreme Court Ruling Opens Floodgate to More State Immigration Regulation, Stronger Federal Preemption Statute Needed
June 6th, 2011 - by Patrick Shen
After much anticipation and speculation, the Supreme Court decided that, in essence, states may enact their own employment eligibility and employer sanction laws. The name of the case is Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting, and we have to expect more states joining the ranks of Arizona and others already with verification laws on the books
June 3rd, 2011 - by Guest Contributor
By Keith Stefanelli
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has experience working through emergencies – on Wednesday, he was again guiding emergency response, this time to a fatal tornado outbreak in Central and Western Massachusetts. This made me wonder: What if Governor Patrick had lost the 2010 Gubernatorial Election, and Massachusetts had a new Governor, less experienced in emergency response? What if the next Black Swan event of statewide or national significance occurs on the Inauguration Day of a new Governor or President?