Darryl McSwain, Assistant Chief at Montgomery County Police Department, discusses the “Montgomery County Model” to prevent domestic radicalization and violence extremism. This included working with schools support youth before they take part in negative behavior and working with researchers to develop culturally-sensitive prevention programs that are effective.
McSWAIN: Well, we share basically what we call the Montgomery County Model, obviously, since I work with Montgomery County specifically. But we mainly talked about the fact that it’s a community-led model which includes a broad range of community members in the faith community and many, many others. Also involves members of the government itself, as well as law enforcement, and the one key factor that we also want to continue to stress is that law enforcement is simply a part of the program, but is in fact led by the community itself.
How do you work with schools in community policing?
McSWAIN: We work with the school system. Of course, the school system itself represents thousands upon thousands of youth and, unfortunately, due to social media and some other access points, they’re also very vulnerable to being radicalized and/or pointed in a direction that’s negative. One of the things that we’ve learned, from either our school resource officers or just administrators in school in general, school counselors are members that students go to on a regular basis to talk about challenges that they’re facing whether it be culturalization issues, alienation issues, and/or some other matters that may be of concern which may, if unchecked, lead to negative behavior.
How has your partnership with NIJ been beneficial?
McSWAIN: NIJ has been very integral in working with us, especially as it relates to enhancing our program through statistical analysis , research, and other more empirical ways to help us to ensure that one, we are on the right track , and two, that we are being as effective as possibly can.
How has collaborating with researchers benefitted your jurisdiction?
McSWAIN: I found that the presenters provided very valuable information, especially the profiles in general, for lack of a better term, and/or simply given some structure as it relates to the academic world and how police agencies should consider, one, developing programs, but just as importantly how they should report out findings to ensure that, one, it’s not only culturally sensitive but based upon fact and not necessarily rumor or opinions, and maximally effective. I do believe the audience itself, with this diversity, was very important because they will also go back to their respective communities and share lessons learned and I think that’s going to be one way that we can get the information out even quicker is by word of mouth from one individual to the next.