Tag Archives: Protection

The Three Interconnected Components of Security

My latest professional article in LinkedIn details some basic components needed to create a comprehensive security program within a professional organization. It’s intended to prevent the compartmentalization and failure to designate appropriate security leaders so that assets can be protected in an efficient and effective manner.

To read the full article, click here.

The Need for Comprehensive Transportation Security

On May 3, 2017; I wrote an extensive article on LinkedIn as an in-depth examination for the need of increased security focus in the transportation sector, especially among Ports and Transit Agencies. It is an analysis of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) programs, to include the Surface Transportation Security Inspection Program (STSIP); and why the onus on security should be taken on primarily by the Transit Authority, Rail Service, Trucking Company and/or Port Authority. When looking at the benchmarks of the Los Angeles Port Police, WMATA Metro-Transit Police, SEPTA Transit Police, and Port Authority of NY/NJ; the nation’s best practices in transportation security are coming from local authorities with the fiscal support of the federal government, and not vice-versa.

To read this article, click here.

Mannes to Moderate Expert Forum on Violent Extremism

nccOn the morning of Friday, October 14, A. Benjamin Mannes, an elected Governor on the executive board of Philadelphia InfraGard (the FBI-coordinated public/private partnership) and Regular Contributor to The Hill will be moderating the Forum on Violent Extremism at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia.  This forum will be the first of its kind to bring nationally recognized subject matter experts in radicalization together with FBI and Philadelphia police leaders on a panel that will discuss this issue with attendees.

Mannes hosted a similar event to discuss active shooter incidents in 2013, following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, which was a sold-out event that joined a noted forensic Psychologist together with the Philadelphia Police, Department of Homeland Security, FBI and private security experts.  Topics covered will include ISIS radicalization and lessons learned from domestic terrorist incidents.

This two-hour session will also highlight public/private partnerships, federal, state and local resources, and suspicious activity reporting in an effort to enhance safety throughout our region. Our highly regarded panel of experts will include:

Peter Leitner, PhD
President, Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center, 
Sr. Fellow, George Washington University Center for Advanced Defense Studies Advisor on Terrorism, New York University Law School

Dale Yeager
Certified Forensic Profiler and CEO of SERAPH

Michael Batley
Faculty, Temple University Real Estate Institute

Lt. James Dambach
Commanding Officer, Homeland Security Unit/Dignitary Protection Section
Philadelphia Police Department

Janelle Miller
Assistant Special Agent in Charge
FBI, Philadelphia Division

This important event will give attendees important tools needed to recognize the behaviors associated with radicalization and violent extremism, to hopefully prevent further home-grown terrorist attacks.

Lessons from Charlotte: When a protest is just a riot

This week, an non-permitted demonstration in Downtown Charlotte escalated into a mass of property damage and the murder of a protester by another protester in the crowd. The media reported this by labeling it as a “Violent Protest”.  Similar labels were attached to riots in Baltimore, Ferguson and Milwaukee; but when there’s clear evidence of multiple crimes being committed during a “protest”, it’s officially defined a riot.

On September 23, 2016, my latest piece was published in The Hill that analyzes the events in Charlotte and defines this issue more clearly.  To read the full story,click here.

The Hill: Words matter: How politicians politicize terror attacks

Please read and share the piece I wrote in The Hill on September 18, 2016 regarding the terror attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota over the weekend, and questions about the honesty of the language used by local political leaders to brief the public on them.

To read the full article, please click here.

John Cardillo Show: Ben Mannes on Police Ambushes, Terrorism and Immigration

Mannes was a guest on the John Cardillo Show on Monday, 9/19/16 to discuss two ambushes on Philadelphia Police, his recent article in The Hill entitled Background Checks: the Achilles Heel of Immigration Reform, and the recent Terrorist Attacks on New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.

Background Checks: The Achilles Heel of Immigration Reform

My latest piece in The Hill raises extremely important questions on a key issue in the Presidential Race.  The issue is Immigration and whether you’re on the left, right or centrist sides of the aisle, you’ve likely heard a lot about background checks.  This article gets into the logistics of foreign background checks and why all sides of the argument should confer with experts on the issue.

To read the full story, click here.

Rules to the game: Cops, criminals and the complexity of urban policing

As published this morning in The Hill:

Last weekend violent riots broke out in Milwaukee, WI, following the police shooting of 23-year old Sylville Smith, who was armed with a stolen semiautomatic handgun during a foot pursuit. Civil protests turning violent is unfortunately becoming a new norm in the divide between the African American community and the police agencies serving them, with similar protests in Ferguson, MO and Dallas, TX resulting in the unfortunate loss of life and property.  However, when looking back on the adversarial relationship between criminals and law enforcement; this new norm has not traditionally been “part of the game”.

“The game” is street vernacular in abbreviation for the “crime game” or “drug game” that encompasses the criminal activities conducted professionally in the community. Those employed in “the game” are commonly referred to as “players”.  Now, your more experienced players know that if you’re committing a criminal act and the police arrest you, chase you, or use force to apprehend you; then that’s part of “the game” and the police are doing their job in coming after you.  Examples of this are evident in the unexpected “business” relationships that arise between those in “the game” and law enforcement officers.

Outside Baltimore, MD, the name Melvin Williams may not ring a bell. Most of us remember Williams as the actor who played the neighborhood Church Deacon on the venerable HBO crime drama, “The Wire”.  However, Williams real fame is from his stint as “little Melvin” Williams, the West Baltimore drug kingpin that The Wire’s ‘Avon Barksdale’ character was actually based on.  The little known truth behind how Williams ended up inspiring the character as the drug kingpin who was the focus of seasons 1-3 of The Wire as well as how he came to be a player on the show in seasons three and four was that he was friends with Ed Burns, the show’s co-creator who was himself the Baltimore City Police Detective that helped put Williams away in 1984. In 2003, Williams was released from prison and reconnected with Burns, who put him on the show.

Also of mention is Frank Lucas, the heroin kingpin arrested by New Jersey Narcotics Task Force Detective Richie Roberts in the 1970s, inspiring the 2007 film “American Gangster”. What’s little known to the public is that while working with Roberts up to and through his 1975 conviction, Lucas and Roberts became close friends and stayed in touch through Lucas’ prison sentences from ’75-’81 and ’84-’91 and stayed friends since; to includes Roberts being godfather to Lucas’ son, Ray.  Also from New Jersey, Joey “Coco” Diaz, an actor and comedian who in the late 1980s was imprisoned for an armed drug kidnapping, stated on his podcast “The Church of What’s Happening Now” that “even though he was a career criminal he never resented the police, they had a job to do and it was understood”.

The truth is, any criminal or urban law enforcement officer will tell you, the streets are a workplace.  Law enforcement officers and members of the community make up a workplace in where no roles are 100% clear, considering the criminals are often victimizing members of the same community that they live, and good citizens in that community often know them, their relatives, and often times the law enforcement officers that come to arrest them.

So if we’re to believe the rhetoric in the media that pushes a “racially-driven, killer cop” narrative, despite all officially-collected data pointing to the opposite, then how can community policing examples dating back over forty-five years with famed examples like Williams/Burns and Lucas/Roberts exist?  The truth is that even a career criminal will you that you can’t run from the police and not expect to be chased and tackled. If you point a firearm at a police officer, then a career criminal expects that they will be fired upon.  If you’re known to the police and have multiple priors at a certain location, then you know that they can’t just walk away when you physically resist arrest.  These are long standing rules and are common-place to anyone in “the game”, so what brings upon this change in our public narrative that has people protesting, rioting, and assassinating law enforcement officers in the name of armed, potentially deadly suspects like Sylville Smith or Alton Sterling?

If nothing else has been learned from the civil-rights era riots of Watts, Newark, Detroit, the 1992 LA riots, and last year’s riot in Baltimore; it takes generations, if ever, for a community to recover from the damage inflicted in this unrest. However, it seems that the narrative behind these riots is changing, and a belief that law enforcement should simply allow a myriad of dangerous criminal behavior to exist persists in those who are taking to the streets in the protests that are too often becoming riots.  If more people took a note from the precarious “business” relationship between law enforcement and those in “the game” on the streets of urban America, maybe there wouldn’t be such outrage over the inevitable outcome of an incredibly bad choice to raise a weapon at a police officer.

A. Benjamin Mannes (@PublicSafetySME) is a national subject matter expert in public safety. He serves as a member of the Peirce College Criminal Justice Studies Advisory Board in Philadelphia and is a Governor on the Executive Board of InfraGard, the FBI-coordinated public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection.

What’s Missing from the DoJ Civil Rights Division’s Police Investigations

baltimore police doj report

Vanita Gupta, the head of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, discussed the department’s findings on the investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department with Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Associated Press/Brian Witte

Today, I was published in The Hill, in regards to the US Justice Department, Civil Rights Division’s release of a scathing, 163 page report on Wednesday, which details their investigation into the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD). The report concluded that BPD has exhibits systematic racial bias against African-Americans.

This DoJ report is quite similar to the ones written following investigations in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Ferguson, MO and Albuquerque, NM following controversial police uses of force.

However, in reviewing the report’s findings, one is left to wonder what elements are missing from these scathing reports that seem very quick to cite race as the pivotal factor in their conclusions.  Furthermore, one is left to wonder what the lasting effect these reports and their resulting consent decrees have on policing in their respective cities. At the end of the day, the nature of these DoJ reports can beg the question of their effectiveness.  Could a better use of governmental resources can easily be directed at the reasons crime is so high in the very communities where these DoJ reports are focused? If we, as a collective, recognize the job of the police, in responding to and preventing crime in the context of the high-crime areas where these investigations are conducted; then we can understand these statistics much better.

Please read the whole article and my talking points by visiting The Hill by clicking here, free of charge.

Buffalo News: What the terrorism watch list is … and isn’t

Buffalo NEws 7-6-16 Masthead
Published July 6, 2016 following the Congressional “sit-in” that followed the terrorist attack on an Orlando Nightclub, demanding that all persons on the “Terrorism Watch List” be restricted from obtaining a firearm.

 By A. Benjamin MannesAs a former municipal and federal law enforcement officer and intelligence analyst, I’ve actually accessed the “terrorism watch list” that is currently garnering so much media attention of late. Like many Americans, I witnessed a contingent of the House Democratic caucus stage a sit-in to push through legislation restricting members of the watch list from getting a firearm. As someone who not only knows how terrorism watch lists work, as well as with firsthand experience relating to how changing gun laws can make law-abiding citizens into criminals, I felt the need to briefly explain the process.

First, the “terrorism watch list” is officially called the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), which the FBI consolidates from multiple agencies, and includes the TSA’s “no-fly list.”

The “no-fly list” is actually one specifying heightened “selectee” screening by the TSA, and normally nobody is actually restricted from flying after passing heightened screening. The TSDB list is estimated to contain over 2,484,442 records, consisting of 1,877,133 individual identities, with approximately 1,600 names submitted to it. About 600 names are removed and 4,800 records are modified by the intelligence community each day. Approximately one out of 20 of the people on the list are citizens or legal U.S. residents.

The Justice Department inspector general officially noted frequent errors on the list and slow response to complaints, finding 38 percent of a 105-record sample contained gross inaccuracies. Ten years ago, a review of the no-fly list reduced its size by half, from 71,872 records to 34,230 records.

One of the most obvious reasons for the inaccuracies is that names are submitted to the list in the process of investigations or intelligence gathering, often for subjects who have been unseen. Therefore, given common naming conventions in many cultures outside the United States, it’s possible that there are thousands of innocent people in the nation with the same name as a subject on the TSDB.

While there are multiple reasons for these inaccuracies, it is important to understand that the TSDB is a watch list, not a criminal record, and is used in security screenings and investigations that could lead to a trial. The vast majority of records in the TSDB use Muslim naming conventions, meaning that potentially thousands of innocent American Muslims will have their right to purchase a firearm to defend themselves stripped with little to no adjudication process, simply because someone on the TSDB had the same name and gender.

Therefore, I plead for our elected representatives to seek out more effective, common-sense legislation to address the issue of mass violence.

A. Benjamin Mannes is a governor on InfraGard, the FBI-coordinated public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection