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Community-Level Efforts to Prevent Violent Extremism

John Picarelli, Ph.D., National Institute of Justice; John Horgan, Ph.D., Georgia State University; David H. Schanzer, Duke University; Deputy Chief Michael Downing, Los Angeles Police Department

In this video three internationally-renowned experts from the research and practitioner arenas discuss how community policing can be used to prevent violent extremism and reduce violence within communities.

JOHN PICARELLI: Good afternoon. It’s good to see everybody here and welcome to our latest installment of research for the real world. For those of you who do not know me my name is John Picarelli. I’m the program manager here at the National Institute of Justice. And amongst a few other things that I do I oversee our program looking at domestic radicalization of violent extremism. What we are going to talk about today is really the beginning of a number of publications and seminars that we’re going to be holding this year addressing the issue of radicalization of violent extremism. I’m going to talk a little bit more about our program and then introduce our panelists in a moment. But first I thought it would be good to open up with a video that really kind of drives home what it is we are talking about today in terms of trying to prevent and intervene in cases where radicalization of violent extremism may be occurring. So after the video, I’ll pop back up, talk about our program, introduce our panelist, and then we’ll get started with today’s discussion.

[Start: Transcript of "Countering Violent Extremism in Los Angeles," a video played at the event ]

DR. MAHER HATHOUT: The population of Los Angeles, which I think is the most diverse, and when I say the most diverse, it means that it is the most mature city in America or in the world.

SALAM AL-MARAYATI: Violent extremism has definitely impacted our lives. It has become a danger for all of us as Americans when we have to deal with groups like ISIL, Al Qaeda, Baca Quran.

HATHOUT: Extremism is not power. It is weakness. It is not robust. It is disease.

MIKE ABDEEN: We started a few years ago by getting to know a community. That is the foundation. Getting to know who we are reaching out to. The whole idea is to build the foundation of trust that could lead to talking about future events and other partnership initiatives.

HAROON AZAR: Really in essence everyone needs to come together as we have in the past in dealing with other issues to confront this threat.

MICHAEL DOWNING: The three areas of our focus have been prevention, intervention, and interdiction. The intervention is where we need work. This is an area if you look at the game model of Los Angeles, the war on gangs didn’t work. It did not work arresting our way. We could not arrest our way out of the problem. You cannot declare a war on this type of a phenomena. It wasn’t until we realized that intervention efforts, where you talked about youth development, employment opportunities, character development, diversion programs. This is an area that is just right for this phenomena that we are experiencing today. To find ways to build off ramps for people who may have it in their mind that this is what they want to do but they haven’t yet mobilized to violence.

DAVID BOWDICH: Off ramps is essentially an alternate path for the individuals to go down. It’s the community, it’s the mental health resources. It is the mentors in the community and getting them engaged with in particular often times the youth to assure that they have someone to talk to and they have someone who can try to steer away from going down the wrong path.

DR. MARVIN SOUTHARD: In the Los Angeles County mental health system, we have found that if we are really interested in creating strong recovery, we need to do more than provide treatment. We need to find community support for all aspects of a person's life.

JIHAD SAAFIR: What we are trying to renew and restore are beautiful behavior and ethics and principles that benefit the community.

DANIA ALKOULI: The more engaged we are and the more involved we are with different activities and different groups besides law enforcement, like interfaith, community awareness, and activism, this channels a lot of comprehension and open doors between all of these teams so that there is better efforts made to combat these problems.

SARAH BASIN: I think that interstate relations are important because we often only hear about the extremes of each community. Whether it is Jewish, or Muslim, or Christian communities. And by virtue of shifting the focus back on those who are willing to build relationships with each other and work through the difficult moments of conflict, we create a space for that majority in the middle for those moderates to be louder and to overpower those voices on the extreme.

FATHER CYRIL GORGY: The role of every faith leader is to guide their flock away from violence and into peace, specifically what their faith teaches about peace and how to deal with situations when two people do not agree.

AHMEN YOUMIS: We can't keep arguing to young people that an American Muslim identity is real unless we facilitate opportunities for them to experience what is called a Muslim American identity which differentiates their experience from Muslims around the world, Muslims in history, and Muslims in the future.

DR. MAHER HATHOUT: We felt that there must be some synergy between the law enforcement and the Muslim community, and we took some initiatives and we started in different modalities. The response was great having regular meetings with the sheriff’s department and with the LAPD.

BRIE LOSKOTA: In the social science arena we say as Los Angeles goes, so goes California. As California goes, so goes the nation.

JIHAD TURK: The leadership in the very top have made the initiative to reach out to the Muslim community to get to know us and to involve us in the process of securing our communities.

ALEX BUSAMANTE: When the LAPD implemented the suspicious activity reporting process, there was huge public outcry.

AZIZ HASSAN: It was only through engagement with community groups and civil rights organizations along with law enforcement that we were able to turn a corner.

When Chief Downing presented the SARS? program to us, we met with him along with other civil rights groups and said we need five changes in the program. He took those requests, went to LAPD, came back and we were able to reform SARS? so not only is it adhering to the civil liberties standards of our country, but it became more effective.

ASHRAF JAKVANI: As long as we are talking to each other, things will happen. We can change the narrative.

STEPHANIE YONEKURA: The role of the U.S. attorney's office and the community engagement process is one of support for our local partners being the LAPD, the L.A. County Sheriffs, and the L.A. Human Rights Commission who for years have been on the ground establishing relationships with the community based on trust and communication.

ERIC GARCETTI: When we talk to each other, when we act together, we break down the barriers that separate us. We find common purpose, common campaigns, and in the end we find our common humanity.

NIRIRFJAN KHALSA: After the shooting in Wisconsin, [inaudible] were murdered by a white supremacist we did not have to go to LAPD to say can you please help watch [inaudible]. Can you keep an eye on and keep an ear out in case there are any copycats or repercussions from that. They came to use. They called us. They called several members of the [inaudible] community, me in particular to make sure that we were doing okay. This type of policing creates an image and creates a concept, creates an ideal in the communities that they serve that you are working together with the police department and they are concerned about your welfare. This is something that the whole country could learn from LAPD.

If we keep Los Angeles as the model, which it is, I would like to see it spilling out as fast as we can.

So this is our mission. We are in this particular part of town. Our objective is to revive, renew, restore everything that is good including mercy, compassion. We want to revise peace.

[End: Transcript of a video played at the event]

PICARELLI: As you can see, the topic we are about to discuss today gets into a number of different things to cover. We are going to touch on community policing, we are going to touch on how radicalization may or may not resemble other forms of violence and violence prevention and a number of other topics. These are all things that NIJ has been looking since 2012 when we started this project. We were asked to take a look at radicalization to violent extremism as is occurring here in the United States. More importantly try and help those in communities who are struggling with the question of what to do about it, and so today we're going to start a process. Over the next year we will be releasing results of various studies. We currently have 23 open studies looking at various aspects of this. These are all pretty well focused into two batches. The first batch are studies that are trying to better understand why radicalization occurs and what we can do better to detect it and how we might recognize it when it does occur in the United States. The second question is the one we are going to touch on today. That is once we have that information, what do we do about it. What can we do in the prevention space and in the intervention space that is effective? Joining us today are three international renown experts to really kick this conversation off. First, to my far left is John Horgan who is a professor of global studies and psychology at Georgia State University. His research examines terrorist behavior from radicalization all the way through D radicalization. His current research examines children's involvement in the Islamic state movement, self-concealment among terrorist organizations, free attack behaviors associated not only with the loan acting terrorists, but less ideological mass murderers. And then of course, the project he’ll be discussing today which is the evaluation and the effectiveness of programs aimed at countering violent extremism.

To his right, is David Schanzer, our second panelist, who is an associate professor of practice at the Stanford school of Public policy, and the director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, both at Duke University. David is the lead author of one of our studies titled The Challenge and Promise of Using Community Policing Strategies to Prevent Violent Extremism (pdf,87 pages) , which he’ll be discussing today. There were handouts as you walked in with the executive summary. He is also the PI on a second project that is assessing more of the federal levels’ role and involvement in countering violent extremism. Prior to his academic appointments, David’s career in public service included positions here at the Department of Justice, also at Defense, and at the Senate and House of Representatives.

Last but not least, to my immediate left, is deputy chief Michael Downing. He is the commanding officer of the counterterrorism special operations bureau for the Los Angeles police department. He leads five operational divisions, major crimes and emergency services, Metropolitan air support and emergency operations. And to translate that, it means he is dealing at any particular time with intelligence, operations, tactical response, and emergency preparedness. Chief Downing is a member of the Department of Homeland Security Advisory committee where he is on a working group developing a national strategy for countering violent extremism. He has worked with our Department and the State Department traveling throughout South America, Africa, and various countries such as Turkey, Poland, India and Kenya in an effort to help large police organizations develop into Democratic civilian policing models and to overlay counterterrorism and violent extremism on top of the cities. He is also a fellow at the George Washington University of Homeland Security Institute. What I would like to do to start off our conversation today, because we are jumping to the what do we do about it question, I wanted to proffer a question to our panelists and have John open up a talking about his study. My question is, John, why don't you lead us off what is radicalization, what is radicalization to violent extremism?

HORGAN: Hello everyone. A special hello to everyone watching online. Whenever I am asked that question, I never refuse the opportunity to say there is widespread confusion around radicalization and terrorism. There is special confusion between those different issues. We know that people who hold the overwhelming majority of people who hold radical views will never become involved in violent extremism. There is a lot of very interesting research, most of his recent, but also suggests that not everyone who becomes involved in violent extremism necessarily hold radical views. Is little wonder then that given that reality, there so much contention and confusion around CVE. A root, or a core assumption, rather, in many approaches to countering violent extremism is that we have to root out radical views and suppress them. Rightly or wrongly, I think that has fed a lot of the mistrust around any approach or any initiative that really tries to address this problem. I say this as someone who has devoted much of his adult life to studying terrorism. The scientific research on these issues really and truly is in its infancy.

We cannot say, with any real confidence, who is more likely that not to become involved in violent extremism. Much of what we do know is verified only in hindsight and to further complicate matters, our understanding is constantly shifting. As the British expert Jonathan Givens Mazer once said, it is like tracking a moving target through the wrong end of the telescope. A recent report by some terrific researchers at the George Washington University on Isis in America essentially concluded that radicalization in the U.S. today is both diverse and complex. There are some who see that as a failure to understand the problem. I see it completely the opposite way. I see thus as the reality of the problems facing us. It refuses to fit into any of our analogies. It refuses to bend to our models. Its complexity sometimes threatens to overwhelm us. Because there so little systematic research on these issues, that situation is not going change anytime soon, so let’s not kid ourselves. The question is what do we do in the meantime that is practical and helps communities deal with these profound issues. If we set aside the expert theories about radicalization and terrorism for a moment, we should realize that most ordinary people have their own views about these problems. Most people will know if someone close to them who changes their behavior in such a way that gives them pause for concern, is going through some issues. When there is something troubling going on with somebody that is close to us, the normal reaction is to try to help. In the context of radicalization, even when people want to help, they don't know where to go or to whom they should turn.

For my colleagues and I, two priorities here are first of all helping to provide people with basic information about violent extremism. Why are we not doing that? The second issue, which I will talk about and expand upon in my more detailed remarks, is equipping people with the knowledge or the means regarding what to do should they have concerns. In other words, if they see something, how do we actually make it possible let alone easy for them to say something. Thank you.

SCHANZER: Thank you John. It is great to be here with two people who I have a lot of respect for, John Horgan and Mike Downing. I agree with everything John said. My answer is going to be very short. I think it is worth emphasizing that radicalization to violent extremism, whether it comes from Al Qaeda and ISIS inspiration or from other ideologies continues to be an exceptionally rare phenomenon. Yet it’s a phenomenon that all evidence suggests has a disproportionate social and political impact on society. In other words, some regard terrorism works. It does have a disproportionate effect. It does not have the effect that the perpetrators actually intend, in many respects. It is not leading to the revolution that they desire. Again, it does not matter. They are all seeking some sort of political change that is not coming about. They are having an effect on our society. That leaves me to the conclusion that despite its rarity, this is an issue that is worthy of resources and our attention and efforts to try to prevent. I think I will leave it there John.

DOWNING: I completely agree. From a law enforcement standpoint, this continues to be low-volume but high-consequence threat. However, over the last two years, I think it has grown exponentially for various reasons. Part of the reason is in June 2014 where [name indiscernible] declared himself self-declared [indiscernible]. We’ve seen, we’ve felt it in our communities that to some it is emboldened and enabled more of a legitimacy which is I think one of the reasons we have seen this exponential growth in the number of homegrown violent extremists in the country, the number of arrests in the country, etc. I know this is the topic, this is the main issue that we are here today because of violent Islamic extremism. However, it exists in other forms, sovereign citizen, white supremacy, animal rights, etc., so there are many other disciplines. As long as we are in this realm of violence, mobilizing to violence, we should I think use this opportunity with this research to address these other issues that we are having relative to violence, gang violence, sovereign citizen violence, animal rights violence, white supremacy violence, etc. The director of our training, she puts it in this triangle model of values. The triangle is effective, cognitive, and psychomotor. Effective how you feel about something emotionally. Cognitive how you think about something cognitively. And psycho motor how you react to it physically. I think there’s common values along those lines and in certain respects communities are formed with those common values. Law enforcement definitely is positioned to deal with some of this. It is not positioned or legitimately positioned to deal with a lot of it, especially in the wheelhouse of intervention. When I get into my remarks, I can give some great examples of what we dealt with in the last 12 months as it is related to intervention and the reaction that we have seen as the government has pushed on this into the community and how we are dealing with the reaction from individual groups in communities.

PICARELLI: What I would like to do now is talk a little more about what to do. I am going to  turn the floor over to David Schanzer to start to talk about his study which was looking more at the community policing model. Then, I will have John Horgan come in and talk about his evaluation of a community-based prevention model that also starts to get into the intervention phase then we will conclude with remarks from Chief Downing talking about how this is occurring in the L.A. area and elsewhere. David, the floor is yours.

SCHANZER: I have some trepidation talking about our studies sitting next to Mike who does this and has been doing it for so long and so well. Our project was about looking at policing strategies principally for engaging with Muslim Americans. We talked about other communities as well, to prevent violent extremism. I'm not going to go into all the methods you can look at our report which is online. Our report was unique, our research was unique, because we talked extensively to police departments, police chiefs, police officers who do this work on a day-to-day basis and the Muslim communities that they serve in the same localities. We got a lot of very good perspectives. We concluded that this idea of using community policing strategies to deal with violent extremism that there were both barriers to that and there were also promising practices that should be replicated or tried at least. I am going to focus mostly on the promising practices. Let me talk about briefly what we thought were the core barriers. I wanted to say this in a summary fashion, especially when we are looking at the Muslim American community, I think we have to say candidly that it would be a pretty tough 14 ½ years for the Muslim Americans, the Muslims in America. If you looked on September 12 and you had said that would be few, September 12, 2001, attacks by Muslim Americans inspired by ideologies like Al Qaeda, that the number of people killed compared to the 3,000 people killed in one day in 2001, the number of people killed would be about equal to the number of murders that take place in an average weekend in America. That is the total of what happened in 14 1/2 years. You’d have to say that from most people perspectives that is a deal that we would have taken on September 12, 2001. What has happened is that Muslims look at it and see how much their place in society has deteriorated. What we heard in out interviews, I will not go into all the reasons, I describe it as almost s sense of trauma but what has happened to them and their community. It has led many, some, to have questions about what their future and what their place in America is. That’s a tragedy. If you are looking at the issue of countering violent extremism and community engagement, you have to recognize I think the state of the community that is at issue here. If you experience all of the things that Muslim Americans have experienced over the past 14 1/2 years, listen you are going to have some reticence to this kind of engagement. You're going to try to keep your head down and not try to draw attention to yourself. You’d really rather spend your time focusing on things that are important to you like your family, your profession, your job, your house, your happiness rather than on what is unpleasant about life and things in your community, the violent extremism. It has also led to skepticism, I think, deep skepticism, among some and not as much among others about the government's efforts seem unfairly targeted at them given all of the different forms of violence and violent extremism that we see in America. What we found in our interviews is a deep suspicion because of things that have happened or that Muslim Americans perceive has happened that have led to things like conspiracies that individuals believe that they are under constant surveillance or under constant suspicion. If you turn on the TV and you hear the rhetoric and you watch the shows, you can understand why you would feel traumatized, under bombardment in that regard, and maybe believe that there was an informant in every mosque, which we know is not the case. We have to take the community as it is, not as we wish it would be. That is the community we are trying to engage with. We saw barriers on the law enforcement side as well, that comes from constrained budgets, the recession especially, local police department have other core priorities other than preventing violent extremism which is exceptionally rare compared to street crime, violent crime, drugs. Mike can tell you all the things they are dealing with on a day to day basis. This is not the top priority of our local police departments. As you mentioned it is tough to engage with a community that is maybe skeptical and resistant. That is a barrier that the police face as well. That is a tall order.

What are some of the promising practices that we should think about? Practitioners out there who are listening, if they want to start developing a program and engaging with their communities. Principle number one, I would say is that building trust is a prerequisite to any sort of progress on violent extremism. You can't do one without the other. You can't start a relationship saying hi, I’m the police. We are here to help you with your terrorism problem. With a community that doesn’t see this as a core interest of their’s or, frankly, a core problem of their’s. You need to establish that relationship. You can't be passing out business cards and saying call us when you see something horrible about to happen. You have to take measures to build that trust. You can’t parachute in with your package CVE program and begin like that. You have to have trust building measures in place and work on them constantly for a period of time. Then, you can start to broach the subject of violent extremism.

The second point, you have to base those relationships on the community's needs. Communities, local police, they have a lot to offer to all communities. Muslim American communities, other communities that may be at risk of being victimized by violent extremism, public safety concerns, bullying in the schools, cybercrime, gangs, disruptions in the neighborhood, for Muslim Americans protection from discrimination, hate crimes and everyday concerns. Street lights that aren’t repaired. These serve as gateways to other parts of the government that can then meet the needs that the community has. And can help facilitate the interactions. I think another really important thing, and this goes back to my characterization of the Muslim American communities that may be victims to some trauma is that the relationship with the police can give them a sense of acceptance and legitimacy that is not very hard to come by. When someone like Mike Downing comes to a meeting, wraps their arm around someone, is photographed in the newspaper and seen on television speaking the way he does in those videos, that is something that has a positive benefit that the police can imbue in communities that is really important. What does this have to do with violent extremism? This sounds like social work. This is politics. That is kind of my point. If you don't have a constant presence that is beneficial to the community, if you don't bring anything positive to the table, the odds that you are going to get any sort of benefit on a very rare and also difficult to talk about issue like violent extremism is basically nil. It’s got to be based on the community needs.

The third point is that the relationship has to be based on fairness. American principles of fairness and equality. What do I mean by that? The Muslim Americans we spoke to by and large have a pretty basic desire. That is to be treated essentially like everyone else. That is an American value. They feel like if they are asked to play their part, or being asked to do something if friends, family, acquaintances of the San Berna dido shooters have a special obligation to have come forward and to have said something and to take an action then the exact same obligation falls on friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers of the Charleston shooters as well. I don’t think Muslim Americans are asking for anything different. They may be asked to do the same things as others.

Fourth point. We can address besides basing relationships on non-issues other than violent extremism we need to address the sources of mistrust that have arisen in the past based on past activities. This should not be seen as a problem for law enforcement but should be seen as an opportunity. If a community has grievances, you’re not around, you haven’t solved certain crimes, we never get the attention we deserve. There are streetlights out on our block. These are great opportunities to do something, work together with the community to solve those problems. That is something you can base the relationship on. These sources of mistrust, if they are discussed openly and candidly are opportunities for those of you out there listening, not reasons to be defensive. On the federal side, whether it is the Department of Homeland Security at airports, immigration, FBI with respect to enforcement issues, questions about surveillance and things of that nature, I just don't think those complaints, even though they have been out there for many years, over a decade can be dismissed as the same old same old. Then the interviews that we did were pervasive. They came up in every single interview. We have the Muslim [indiscernible] who went to a meeting, pledged his support to the U.S. attorney to do whatever he could to help these programs, to engage, and so on, then that same individual on his next trip outside of the United States is held for three hours in immigration, missing their flight, having to make arrangements to stay overnight at the airport with family and friends. You can't call on people to stick their neck out and do something for the common good and then treat them like second-class citizens. It just doesn’t fly. There are a lot we can still do, despite the fact that redress numbers and all kinds of things have been created by DHS to deal with airport security despite the fact that FBI is complying with the law and doing prosecutions the right way. There is more we can do to demystify law enforcement and explain policies and be out in the community and explaining that try to reduce the sources of mistrust that make these things difficult. I have two more quick points John.

My fifth point is CVE is important. It’s good. I think it is worth investing in. We can't overdo it. Here is what I mean by that. We don't want to overdo it in such a way that you are stigmatizing the very people that you are trying to help and work with. I want you to do this for me. Put yourself in the seats of a young, eighth grade, Muslim American student who is coming to the class at school where the CVE program has called for teachers presenting something about the violent extremism to all of the students. Even if it is done perfectly well, which is not easy, the pitchers are thrown directly over the plate they don't tilt towards one type of extremism or another but it is done very well, which of course is probably unlikely. You see the images of the Boston Marathon bombing of 9/11 or a picture of Osama bin Laden. The picture of the San Bernadine shooter wearing {inaudible] and you are a young Muslim American wearing a {inaudible], you’re an eighth grader, you have all kinds of problems relating to being a teenager, let alone a teenage minority in America. How is recess going to go for you that day? How are you going to feel if you are the parent of that kid? And they came home crying and wondering why does everybody think I am different. Or that I’m a safety threat? I think there are ways to do CVE, but let's not overdo it. My final point is going to echo Mike, and John is going to talk about this. This has to be a big part about noncriminal interventions. You are not going to get full community buy-in unless their action giving an early warning of an individual who may be heading in the wrong direction but has committed no crime. If all the police can offer is a referral to the FBI, and the possible prosecution for material support for terrorism which will get someone 15 years in federal prison, then you are just not going to get the kind of robust buy-in that many in this room and who are practitioners are hoping for. Most places, I call on a report for police departments to partner with and local agencies and mental health and service providers and so on and not-for-profits the bottom line is that there really is not that much out there yet. We need development. We need to focus on mental health. I am convinced that a good chunk of these cases that we have seen in America have roots in some sort of social dysfunction or mental health issue. I am not a professional psychologist, but that is what I believe in my bones. I think those are my core messages. Thank you so much.

PICARELLI: Thank you, David. Moving on now, John. Moving on from the engagement space, talk to us a little bit more about the WORDE program and how communities are organizing in order to counter violent extremism amongst some of these other issues that David brought up.

HORGAN: Sure John, thank you David. I have some very, very good news to share. But before I do that, I would like to say a few things about CVE and pick up on a few of your points, to develop them. I am not entirely sure when this happened, but at some point over the last two years, CVE, the term CVE became the new terrorism. It is a very deeply contentious label that if you used it, you were seen as compromised or in the service of federal government or in the service of interest that really ran counter to what it is that we say on paper that we are trying to do. There may be no short-term solution to that, but CVE efforts appear, if anything, to be increasing. There are more efforts out there. They are not all associated with a Muslim group. That is a point that seems to be routinely overlooked. If anything, the scope of CVE efforts is also expanding. I think over the last few years, we have gotten very used to thinking about CVE as being primarily a form of primary prevention, if you will. Trying to stop a problem from taking root in the first place. To a lesser extent, there has been a focus on secondary prevention, which is about seeing that their problems developing and figuring out much as David was arguing for, how do we intervene and how do we entertain this idea of an  alternative to prosecution. Only last week, in Minneapolis, we have seen that we are finally now entering the realm of tertiary prevention. The idea that we can now fiercely think about a program aimed at reintegration and rehabilitation or so-called D radicalization. I think we are in interesting times here. Neither the critics of CVE nor its advocates can escape the fact that we are going to have to seriously entertain the issues of impact and evaluation of effectiveness. These can no longer be afterthoughts for these programs. They have to be part and parcel of everything that they involve. In some ways I think discussions about effectiveness had gone off to a bit of a false start. How many times have any of you heard, well, stop talking about evaluating these programs because there is no way you can tell me that we have prevented someone from becoming a terrorist. This is not why we do prevention.

I think this kind of response betrays very narrow of what preventative action is all about. Some of the recent criticism even from CVE experts take the form of criticisms of other programs. They are typically along the lines of well this group over here doesn't really do prevention. We are a lot further along in the process than they are or oddly, primary prevention is criticized by many CVE experts as irrelevant, too broad, or even missing the mark. Well, our findings based on the evaluation that we have conducted with the support of NIJ funding the past 2 years suggests otherwise. With my colleague, Michael Williams, who here in the room and William Evans from the University of Nevada, Reno, we have worked closely with a community-based interface NGO based in Montgomery County Maryland know as WORDE. WORDE is an acronym W-O-R-D-E for the world organization for resource development and education. If you don't know a lot about them, I would recommend that now would be a good time to start because upfront what they are doing shows tremendous, tremendous promise for building CVE. What they are doing works, it is effective on 13 of 15 of our counts. It not only is a model that should be built up with the support of numerous bodies, but we think there is potential to generalize to other areas. To begin with, let me say a little bit about what the WORDE organization is and what they do. They don't just do CVE. In some ways, they may become unfairly known as a CVE organization. That is only a small part of what they do. They are CVE programming is focused on creating and maintaining networks of civically engaged individuals who are sensitized to issues of violent extremism and who have proactive, cooperative relationships with local social services and law enforcement. WORDE engages in and promotes a lot of different kinds of activities, everything from community education programs, they run seminars and town hall meetings with topics like conflict resolution and youth engagement family support. They hold town hall dialogues with public officials on a variety of issues effecting the community. They run Islamic training sessions for law enforcement and they also develop community and law enforcement cooperative engagements. What I felt was a promising and rather unusual step, the president of the WORDE organization, about two and half years ago, publicly said we need help. We want to find out if what we are doing is CVE relevant and if so how we can improve on what we are doing. I'm happy to say that my colleague in arms over Michael Williams was in the room when that plea was made. He didn’t miss a beat to go up to Hedea to say we’ll do it. And we did. Our study is going to be launched very soon. We have about 150 pages of findings that will be relevant for practitioners, for policymakers, for researchers, for those even thinking about developing CVE initiatives. It is all there. The tools. The instruments. The survey items we developed to evaluate the effectiveness. We are giving it all away because there is no point in doing this otherwise. Today, however, I want to share some major highlights from what we found.

The first finding that I want to highlight, because I think it has serious practical applications for how we navigate the space going forward, is this. There was overwhelming consensus that those best positions to identify the early signs of violent extremism were peers.

Those peers are not necessarily trained to do risk assessment, but it is the closed nature of the relationships that provide them with the so-called expertise to see if something is off and different and if problematic behavior might be developing. Unsurprisingly, fear of damaging the relationships with their peers reduced people's willingness to intervene in CVE context. Something that really needs to be thought about is that peers also seemed least willing of all to reach out to law enforcement compared to other kinds of interventions. There are lots of implications that flow from this. The first is that when peers actually do report, we need to take them and their concerns very, very seriously. The second is that when individuals feel that they need to intervene, they are far more likely to use an intervention method called direct engagement. In other words, direct communication with a trouble peer. We think that is a very critical finding to bear in mind if we think about designing a CVE program because it actually emphasizes the need to train people on how to directly address their peers. How do you have a conversation about this? We think peer gatekeeping as a means of locally-led, individually-focused CVE interventions is an area  we need to get behind and promote.

The second big issue, and this is actually what gave rise to the study on day 1 is that given the need for evidence-based, locally-led CVE-relevant programming, the burning question of course is, and WORDE had this question as well , where their programs effective? The final phase in our two-year study yielded validation that was statistically significant which is of no interest to anyone outside of academia. I understand that but it is very important when we share these results. WORDE’s volunteer services and multicultural programming had intended effects on 13 out of 15 outcomes. That is a pretty astonishing finding. You might say volunteer activities and civically-minded engagements what does any of that have to do with countering violent extremism? It is only when you look at and consider some of the kinds of outcome measures that we use that it starts to make sense. Here is some of the self-reported outcomes of young people participating in WORDE’s programming.

I feel welcome. I feel part of something bigger than myself. I make friendships that are active beyond the events. I feel useful. I have responsibilities. I feel a sense of purpose

I feel free of peer pressure. I feel accepted. I would not feel lonely. I learned about cultures other than my own.

If you had said to me 10 years ago that we would be talking about these kinds of benefits in the context of counterterrorism, I probably would have laughed at you. But if we are taking the idea seriously of primary prevention, you tell me how we are going to do better than that. One of our immediate recommendations that we are going to propose to the National Institute of Justice and toward themselves because this is where we step back and say it’s now over to you. This has to be scaled up. It has to be tried in other municipalities.

I’m running low on time. One worrisome finding, it’s not all roses, a lot of people in the community were actually unaware of WORDE’s existence. We thought, well this is an incredible program so surely everybody in Montgomery County must know about it, right? Well, no. Some people—it is a big place and we didn’t realize that--did not. They had no idea such a program existed. Another interesting finding here is that we spoke to people, we didn’t just talk to people who participated in the program. We made it our business to find people who were aware of the program but did not participate. They said well we know that this program is led by Muslims and my first reaction was, well, does that suggest possible xenophobia here. It wasn’t that at all. It was, this is run by a Muslim group, therefore I didn’t think it was relevant to me as a non-Muslim. We may have an opportunity to talk about non-Muslim related violent extremism later on today. I see no good reason why WORDE cannot effectively participate in areas that have absolutely nothing to do with Islam whatsoever.

In short, there are too many findings to share with you today, but the WORDE program is on the right track to create an effective CVE program. I can't say it any more plainly than that. We hope that by sharing our findings and making available all of the data and tools, other researchers can look at what we did, how we did and why we did and deploy them elsewhere. I think we need to quickly, to loop back to my opening comments we have to start moving CVE practice into the realm of evidence. Otherwise, where are we going with this? If there is a simple take away from everything that I have said, it works. This study was worth doing. We would like to see it develop elsewhere. Thank you.

SCHANZER: Just to remedy an omission, one of my colleagues who helped on the report Elizabeth Miller is here. She’s with the Police Executive Research Forum. Mike, I'm sure you are familiar with the work that [inaudible] does. Elizabeth did a great job, as did others on the report. We could not have done the report without PERF?

PICARELLI: It’s good. I can call off the hit squad now. Mike, we heard a lot about community policing. We heard about the utilities when we move into the countering by like extreme -- violent extremities space. We heard about how community-based interventions and prevention may or may not be useful. I thought it might be helpful to turn the floor over to you to hear more about how it is playing out in Los Angeles and what you have been working on for many years now, irrespective of these two studies.

MICHEAL DOWNING: Thank you. We really appreciate the research, the academics, the evaluations that are going on because at times they validate what we do which gives us confidence. Sometimes they allow us to do course corrections if we are not headed in the right direction. We do read the material. We appreciate the works being done. I think it’s so important to law enforcement and a big shout out to PERF as well. They are the guru that we follow on many incidences.

We have been involved in this since 2007. The fundamental objective of policing is prevention. But it’s also how to leverage communities and build trust and to deepen partnerships. Then give communities tools so that they can be partners. In this case, this is one of our objectives. It should go with the community relations of the agency. But in our department I have taken that and it is a little weird, I must say, to have special operations bureau dealing with outreach and engagement. We’ve been committed to this for so long. It is highly relational. Hopefully, over time, it can transition back into a community relation section under the chief of police. We have had some rocky roads. If you remember one of my first community policing initiatives in this space was mapping, which was obviously a big disaster. I thought about not bringing that up, but I wanted to bring it up to make a point. That was a community-policing strategy based on finding underserved communities to give more resources to. But we did not have enough trust built up in the communities at that time, so it fell flat and it failed. We failed forward. But it allowed us to, it was a crisis [inaudible] and I were entrenched in this crisis at the time. And with crisis comes both danger and opportunity. The danger was we had a huge community that thought we were the red hat squad and we were out to get them and we were doing something to the community. Not something for the community. The opportunity was to realize that there was so much distrust in this community. The community felt isolated and oppressed and discontent and the felt the government was, in some views they thought that they were headed towards internment camps. This was vocally articulated in many of the town hall meetings. It allowed us to get back into grassroots work where we recruited teams that represented the communities. Not just the Muslim community but the  [inaudible] Christian community, the Othodox Jewish community, the Christian community and they allowed us to break down some of these doors as we went out. We started to build coalitions. The idea was we can move away from the securitized relationship and it wasn’t just about security. It was about a partnership. Over time, we encouraged and supported this idea, as John says, civic engagement. When more of these communities got involved civically with putting on domestic violence workshops or youth development or even clinics in inner cities or dealing with a conflict resolution and having more of the young people identify with the police department by joining cadet programs, things like that, then we started to see the trust building up. This ebbed and flowed. We would take 10 steps forward and something would happen then we would take 10 steps black. Over time over 10 years we have had terrorist attacks all over the world. Communities, every time an attack would occur, even it was overseas, these communities would say please don't let it be Muslim. Pease don't let it be Muslim. Please don't let it be Muslim. Every time. Even San Bernardino, with this latest terrorist attack we had. There is still this apprehension and fear. On one hand, you have communities with the political rhetoric with [inaudible] a threat to America coming out with politicians talking about Muslims. Are we headed toward internment camps> And on the other hand, parents and families that have kids that are looking at is what is happening overseas are articulated to their families hey it looks kind of cool and it gives me a sense of valor, a sense of meaning, a sense of belonging. I want to go look at it. Or they are looking at the Internet. They are looking at the ISIS propaganda. The families are saying there really is no alternative if I ask for help other than prosecution. I don't want anybody to take my kids to places they never dreamed of going but if there were alternatives we could get help. In Los Angeles, I think we made some great strides in building trust and building partnerships. But this really is a fragile relationship. It is fragile in that something, I always talk about having credits in the bank. We have a lot of credits in the bank. When something bad happens, we are going to withdraw on those credits. We can't go bankrupt. When something happens in the world or in the United States, and it causes people to step back and maybe distrust  that is always there, that crisis is always looming at us. I think if we can get this right on the intervention piece, the prevention strategies, there working. Community policing works. Trust building and partnership works. Preparing communities to deal with natural disasters or manmade disasters works. Access to government works. We all know that. That research is great. But on the other hand this intervention piece if we can get that right and this is something law enforcement has a tiny bit of bandwidth in, because there is still not the trust there for it. I am not sure if we really need to be there. We need to be in a supportive role. If we can get this right, then parents will say there is an alternative and we can look at bringing health to our community and our kids by doing this. Just like we did with the gangs.

I lived through the 80s and the 90s in Los Angeles. With regard to gangs, it was ugly. It was really ugly. I was a police officer in the 80s and we had initiatives that were titled battle plans and operation Hammer and things that were not community-oriented. They were military oriented. It was not about building partnerships and trust and it didn’t work. And it didn’t work to the point that we expended the credits that we had in the bank to the point we ended up bankrupt. We ended up bankrupt for a period of time. It wasn’t really until we looked at this balance of you do need prosecution. You need to take away the capability to those doing harm to the community. But on the other side we need to look at how we do we build off ramps for people and give families and parents alternatives to taking people who have it in their mind that they want to do harm but haven’t yet mobilized violence yet. Are there alternatives? And if we can do that, and if we can get that right, and I completely agree with David about not overdoing it. I think one of our greatest, I think what we are realizing on a terrorist attack, probably the biggest danger that we have is overdoing the national response to a terrorist attack. And not overdoing the CE because we do stigmatize communities. That is what they are saying to us in the field are why are you doing this to us instead of doing something for us. So if we can get it right there will be great success. I will just give a quick example and then I’ll end my comments. We have been moving into the intervention space. Steve [inaudible] from the University of Illinois has helped us. We’ve got an academic institution Public Health, a huge agency. Mental health, a big agency. We talked to access, which is a huge a social service provider. Primarily, with the Arab community. Law enforcement stood back from that. But they are afraid because of groups of people that are still pushing on this. They are afraid to engage. Somehow, we need to get over that hump and get traction on this and show communities that if we have this piece in place, there are alternatives. It is a low-level, low-volume, high-consequence threat. But it is growing and we have seen the arrests grow, we have seen the population of violent extremists grow. But if we can get this right, we will be on the right track.

PICARELLI: Thank you, Mike. Before I open up the floor to questions, I have a few of my own. And thankfully I think you guys have all pretty much answered my first question, so I will skip to my second question. And this I think is very important to drive home. When we started this program, when NIJ started funding studies of radicalization of violent extremism, we kind of prepared a white paper. We went out and looked at what had been done before. What was very clear to us at the outset was we needed to look at radicalization of violent extremism, yes, here in the United States because that is what our appropriators asked us to do, but to look at all forms. To not look at one type or one vector or on grievance but to look at violent extremism in its totality herein the United States. We have projects that we are looking at with antigovernment groups. We have projects that are looking at xenophobic orders supremacist organizations.  Or others are radicalizing here in the United States. This builds up to this question, because what we have here today, and I understand that these are just two projects amongst many. But these projects are focused on the American Muslim community. I wanted to give our speakers a chance to expand on what Mike noted on the outset of his remarks that violent extremism here in the Unites States is not limited to one community. How might these prevention community-based models and these engagement efforts work when we talk about other forms of violent extremism, be they anti-capitalist, anti-government, xenophobic, supremacist and what have you. I will allow John to start and then David and Mike.

HORGAN: That is a tough question. I think I would say right at the outset that the criticism is warranted. I think there are some things that I briefly alluded to but it is worth saying again. There are non-Muslim NGOs out there looking at non-Muslim related violent extremism. They are doing stellar work. At least one of them, Life After Hate, does work not just on primary and secondary interventions, but tertiary interventions also. Life After Hate is one of the best kept secrets in the United States’ CVE effort. I don't know if Life After Hate would want to describe themselves as a CVE effort, but I can tell you that they are doing a damn good job of it. These efforts are ongoing. I think the broad principles applying, no matter what the nature of the threat. We are fundamentally talking about protecting people. We are fundamentally talking about diversion and rehabilitation and reintegration. For years, we have been talking about, on a rather superficial level admittedly the similarities between gangs and violent extremism.  Well, how many times do we have to go around that block before we actually start making a difference? I think part of the problem here is that we are not doing enough to make resources available to these programs. Many of them operate on a shoestring by far and we need to do more to ensure that we also correct our own courses. It is not just about these NGOs and other groups engaging in course corrections. We need to steer this on to other areas as well. I don’t think we're not doing enough there yet.

SCHANZER: On the issue of policing and their approach towards, let’s put the anti-government sovereign citizen or other form of extremism. When we went out to do our study, one of the intentions was to try to do some compare and contrast work. When we tried to find police departments that had the same kind of parallel effort that they had to engage with Muslims on Al Qaeda or ISIS related extremism, what you have with respect to trying to address the problem of antigovernment sovereign citizen extremism, was very difficult to find programs to evaluate or they had very little answers. What we saw in the Police Department's responses was there were two different responses. One was the reasons for that at it would be more along the lines of what Mike was saying. We engage with everyone. We have a lot of contacts and all communities across the city. That’s how we deal with this particular form of extremism. No we don't have anything targeted like we do specifically for the Muslim American community. We don't raise the issue of violent extremism as directly as we do with them. We would expect that we would find out because of our good contacts with the full range of the community. That was one response. Another response was these people don't talk to us. They hate us. I think the whole ideology is antigovernment. We wear a badge. We are law enforcement. And that’s part of the ideology. We can't talk to them or we haven't really tried. We heard that very response in a jurisdiction that had a very serious sovereign citizen incident. What do I think can be done? I think first within law enforcement, we have to educate and confront the savvy agencies that we talk to when we pose this particular problem. They say, you know what, you just need to be creative. There is nobody you can't engage with. There is nobody you can't really talk to. Find something, a mom who is concerned about their kid, a drug epidemic in a rural community, there is no community that we can't find some commonality, some issue where we can provide a positive benefit and service. We need to break out of the shell of thinking that certain communities just won't talk to the police and you have to start by engaging one person at a time. You find one person and then you work with whatever organization they are in. You find more people and put in more effort and think about best practices. Maybe a little research. You can do pilot projects in these areas where they are not focusing exclusively on the Al Qaeda, ISIS inspired threat. It can be done, it just needs to be creatively done.

HOEGAN: John, if I may add to that, one of the reasons why the Life After Hate movement, which is comprised of former skinheads, has been so successful is because they ask themselves formers. They have a lot of credibility. They know what the issues are. I guarantee you that over the coming years, there will be people who leave the sovereign citizen movement. These are the people that we need to sit with and listen to and have conversations about how we can help them if they want to develop similar kinds of programs and initiatives. Again, that is where the credibility will come from.

DOWNING: From a street level sense, a practical sense, we look at groups and organizations that have been involved in a nonviolent struggle, and where they are involved in protests or demonstrations. The principle of respect and dignity and how we deal with that and how we facilitate and create a safe environment so these groups can do that, whether it be animal rights or antigovernment or antiwar or what have you. And that creates opportunities for us one to build trust. We may not agree, but that is not our position at that point to agree. It is to help facilitate their constitutional right. Respect comes back, which creates opportunities for more meetings, more engagement. With regards to the Muslim communities, I always ask we have 21 precincts in LA and I always ask the command officers how many Muslim leaders do you have represented on your community police advisory boards? I asked Muslim communities the same thing. Very, very little. We are trying to move in that direction so that they have a voice and they participate. It goes with any group. If you are an animal rights group, then let's engage and talk about this. Let's dialogue. Let’s keep it in a non-violent realm. From a police officer, that’s our legitimacy. That gives us a position to engage in outreach. There should be no group, no community, no organization—maybe I shouldn’t say that—no group, community that we should not be able to engage with. And or find communities that are closer to that group to help us engage with those communities.

POCARELLI: As I opened the floor to questions, you may proceed to a microphone if you want to ask a question. I will just note, John, since you brought it up twice, amongst the many other projects that are not represented here today is one out of the Research Triangle Institute which partners with Life After Hate and is actually doing the very thing that you were suggesting, whether going out and talking to former white supremacists, former anti-government, or violent extremists to learn from them how best to disengage from violent extremist organizations. First question.

WYRICK: Hello. My name is Phelan Wyrick. I'm with the National Institute of Justice here. My question is about the issue of intervention. We talked--a number of you have mentioned the parallels or the relationships to gang and anti-gang work. That is an area I have done some work in. My question is this. One of the big challenges in putting together a community-based anti-gang programs, primary prevention has its challenges but not too difficult, the enforcement efforts are usually in place and it is just a matter of not going too far in many cases and being targeted. The intervention has been, over decades, spotty, inconsistent. There has been tensions with law enforcement in many cities. There’s been questions of professionalism. The use of formers has been a source of difficulty with a lot of people in law enforcement. It has been an ongoing issue. It has been the one part that is been the most difficult to get funding for at the local level. I am curious if you could speak a little more to that and perhaps draw on the experience of anti-gang efforts to inform that discussion.

DOWNING: I think we’ve had great advancement in that area with the Advancement Project, which is called something else now and [inaudible] from UCLA. Working with the mayor’s office. Funding interventions .Funding programs that deal with former gang members who are interventionists. Not only does it deal with intervention programs that targets youth that are moving in that direction, but when there is a gang homicide that occurs, we can't really do anything about that homicide except investigate it and find out who did it. But there is a partnership with law enforcement and the interventionists to prevent the next one and to prevent the next one and the next one. There is a lot of talk and dialogue that goes along. I think the interventionists. former gang members. move into that space quicker than law enforcement does and invites us into that space so that we can establish the relationships. Even though we are seeing a little bit of an uptick in violent crime as a lot of major cities are in the 80s and 90s we had over 1,000 homicides in Los Angeles and gang-related homicides were 80 percent. Now, I think they are 50. We are under 300 homicides a year so still way too many but I do think it shows a success in terms of the intervention programs and also the use of former gang members who are interventionists that partner with law enforcement. Over the years, it took a bit of a cultural shift for law enforcement to accept this as good. And that is a leadership issue that we have to deal with.

David, any other comments?

HORGAN: Correct me if I am wrong but there is not a lot known about the violent extremism cases that could fall into the category of potential off ramps and the secondary interventions. I know that WORDE has started to do some work in the secondary intervention area. That work started after our evaluation began. I’m in no position to really comment on it. The so-called test case in Minneapolis, which seems to collapse in some sort of acrimony recently, it is the only one in my mind that had discussions centered around it. I know they are having related different cases associated with young returnees from Syria or Iraq as well, some of whom are not necessarily serving a custodial sentence. The cases exist. I know very little about them. That may be by design, I don't know.

HOWARD SPIVAK: In listening to you guys, there is a lot of similarities between what you are talking about and public health strategies around a whole spectrum of health issues from HIV to [indiscernible] and a variety of other things. You are even using the same language now. I am curious how much engagement there is of other sectors of addressing these problems and building relationships not just with communities but with other entities that are working with the same communities you are.

DOWNING: This has been our next step. The past 12 months is what we have done, creating out partnerships with access and public health, mental health. Other NGOs that are in the space. We are getting resistance, we are getting pushback. It is unlike the gang phenomena where we did not really have organizations that we are trying to protect something. I'm not sure what it is. It is not smooth. It is not easy. Some of these partners that we are engaging are afraid to get into this space now. They are afraid to get into it because they will be targeted or identified as somebody who is cooperating with this CVE effort. This is one of the challenges that we have and it is very real. The people that we…they want to be involved. They see infrastructure is there to do it. They have the resources. They even have the money. It’s just they don't want to jump into this and be targeted for criticism.

MIKE REYNOLDS: Hi, Mike Reynolds, consultant to the FBI in counter violent extremism. Thank you very all of you for coming and doing this. I don't think John you could have put together a panel of three people who have been more engaged or more involved or more respected than all of our communities. I have a 1,000 questions. This goes to the heart of my question for you Michael. Is community policing and how has it involved. My view of community policing being oldest guy in the room is [name inaudible} with a night stick walking the beat. With the exception of NYPD, maybe Chicago, maybe L.A., this city included you see police officers on the street anymore really engaging block by block community police as it used to be. I would be curious as to your thought on evolution and how it ties to the statistics from David’s report that jumped out at me were that 82 percent of Police Departments that they talked and they talked to phenomenal response looked to the joint terrorism task forces as a primary entry point into CVE, which I thought that was telling. The next highest level technique was other task forces. I would like your comments on that. To John's point, I don't need to be a promoter of WORDE. Everyone knows what I think of Heady and the organization. A 20-year relationship out there but interestingly, you have not been to one of the forums there is another one on stopping hate speech coming up. The last one they had I thought there would only be 10 participants because it was Super Bowl Sunday. It was standing room only.  And Christian [name inaudible] who runs Life After Hate [inaudible] violence, talk about a great story of how you get in and how you come out. Move and shake, comes from the other part, she went half way through the Super Bowl and nobody left the room, it was fascinating. But watching that evolve, and you studied it in great depth, my other question is that you all struggle for funding but you look for that funding to continue to work and put it out there and it seems to me that putting these coalitions together out on the street be it private sector people, state and local government, those people who ring the expertise to life and law enforcement doesn’t is going to take a concerted effort of funding. To John, I’d ask you and the others, where do you see the best avenue for that to come forward and take shape, particularly given the fact that we are in an election cycle that is somewhat unpredictable.

DOWNING: As far as the evolution of community policing, from my standpoint, has always been about the attitude, the focus, the strategy, and the organization in terms of how we are organized internally to a line externally with the communities. I think some of the competing interest, prior to the last two years, we have had almost 13 years of crime reduction. A lot of that was hot spot policing. Predictive policing, later? The use of data. We have a saying in our department data-driven community focus. But I think with the analytics and the prediction model and hot spot policing, the data really drove a lot of the activity. Even though it is supposed to be community focused, I think some of that may have been lost. Because of some of the use of force incidents, the officer involved shootings, those kinds of things…law enforcement found itself in the last two years a bit on its heels. Chief Beck, in response to this feeling about the relationship, it’s not called community relations. He created a community relationship division of about 90 people. Their whole mission is to go out and build partnerships, establish trust,  do a lot social media, attend a lot of meetings. Build the community with a centralized focus. Community policing , even though we talk about being in this intelligence led era where we have all of this data and we can predict things and use deployment formulas where we were on top of crime, we have all this information coming at us, community policing has to be foundational. It has to be the base. If we get away from that, we are going to lose our fundamental objective of policing. That is to have the authority and the trust that the community that allows us to do our job.

SCHANZER: Thanks for digging in the survey data, that’s great. I think a lot of it showed that this is a very nascent effort in most of the country. I think, I don’t have the data right in front of me, but one of the questions we ask was really basic how many departments had community meetings to try to address this issue and it was well less than one-third, maybe it was around 20 percent. Mostly nil.  How much of you had training, whether it be training about issues relating to radicalization, to violence, or training about community sensitivity. Again, it was less than a third. A little bit more than the thing on meetings. We had a great response to our survey but in terms of departments who are really forward leaning and eager to chat with us about all the great things they were doing that was a lot more of a struggle. We put out what we thought were promising practices based on discussions with agencies we thought were really doing a great job and had a lot of insights. Even of the 20 agencies we did telephone interviews with a lot thought they were doing community policing but a lot sounded like this basic see something say something and talk to businesses around town and make sure they understand if there is suspicious behavior to call them. Not deep kinds of engagement. So we designed this report to try to stimulate interest in this style of policing to deal with this problem.

HORGAN: I think when I started this work with Michael and Dale and Hidea I had a sense of what evaluation involved and a lot of people I had spoken to who do CVE I think see evaluation as just a little bit threatening. There is this view that we were going to parachute in with our clipboards and we will dazzle them with academic brilliance and then we’ll go away and give NIJ a recommendation. The most valuable learning experience for me was the nature of the collaborative experience we had with WORDE. At the very beginning we sat down in rooms in Montgomery County for days on end and we had to win their trust. We had to make a  case that we are there to help them develop this program and to provide another perspective on how they might get to where they want to be. I think for so many people evaluation is just an afterthought. It’s something if you run a program you need to do it for the next round of funding. I want to take this back to the funding issue though. I never want to refuse research dollars. The only thing I’m good at doing. But I would sooner see $5,000 go to WORDE than a purely academic study CVE. My point being their doing it. Life After Hate is doing it. We need to figure out ways and you need to figure out ways because this sis the world we live in and not me as an academic but these partnerships are immensely powerful and figuring out ways to get the academics in the same room, there is no substitute for that. That is the recipe for fruitful collaboration, I think.

SCHANZER: I think saying first time money on the table depending on how you  read the language between 10 and 49 million dollars that is going to be in charge of that. Up on the Hill, they were picking my brain, how should this money be spent. I gave them my thoughts. Raised an issue it is hard to create these outreach units dedicated to these communities. Sure we can use some help with that and I think the staffers on the Hill were rightly saying we don’t know if this is 1 2 3 year funding. What if they hire a person to do outreach and then a year or two later the funding disappears. Does that whole capability disappear and what have you bought at that point in terms of a federal investment?  I think that is a fine question. My answer would be I have such confidence that these kinds of programs provide benefits that they if you start them that the benefits and the fruits of them become so apparent that you make the case for an investment by the municipalities themselves. I can’t prove that this what is going to happen. 

PICARELLI: We are at time I have a few concluding points. I will pivot off Mike’s last question about funding jus to start out by noting when we started this program about how ram in 2012 we focused on the basic research that we need to get answers back to learn radicalization is occurring and what has been hinted throughout this program on our website we wanted to shift more on the area what has being done out there to prevent situations of radicalization of violent extremism. The programs do not exist let’s hear from the sorts of partnerships between practitioners and researchers to look at these programs as experiments so our latest solicitation will be released we hope tomorrow if not the latest sometime this week and I would strongly encourage you to keep an eye out for that. I also mentioned on the outset of this session that this is the first of what I expect to be a lot of activity this year release sing the results from all of those previous studies. We are just about to put the finishing touches on a speaker series that will have researchers coming in on a monthly basis to present the results from their individual studies which I think in and of itself will be helpful. But also what we are trying to do is launch a series of working papers. These will be works in progress and these will be synthesizing the results of all of these studies be they complete or not as well as engaging the broader research that has been done on these topics and synthesizing them into papers that we hope will be useful not just for the academic community but for practitioners a check where are we at this stage. The hope is these will be updates as more research comes online whether it is from NIJ or other sources. We will have papers coming out looking at radicalization, pathways. behavioral indicators detecting radicalization, looking at a discussion of programmatic interventions as we ben having her today and a series of other topics. We will also have more sessions like this to bring together practitioners with researchers, maybe one panel, two panels to give an opportunity not just for those hear in Washington but those up on webcam and hopefully communities in the United States to hear directly from the researchers in this arena.

I really would like to thank our speakers. It was a big task of them to interrupt their days and come from the west coast, the south, and elsewhere to spend this time with us and  I really appreciate you all doing it. I know how much you are invested in this and wanted to say thank you for coming out and sharing your thoughts today. I hope you will join me in a round of applause for speakers.

Date Created: March 1, 2016