Tag Archives: Terrorism

After London and Manchester, we need better Public Venue Security

My June 4, 2017 piece in The Hill should serve as a private sector “wake-up call” for public venue security in light of recent, fatal criminal and terrorist incidents; many of which could have been prevented or mitigated with better security planning.

To read the entire piece, please click here.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are not synonymous

My latest column in The Hill breaks down a common misconception regarding the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and conveys the urgency for citizens to be more responsible for their own safety and security.

Please click here to read the article and feel free to contact me with your feedback.

The Hill: America needs a ‘Duck and Cover’ for domestic terrorism

Despite a persistent threat and great courses like the CAT Eyes Program & “Run, Hide, Fight“, there still is no standardized effort to train citizens on terrorism and what they should do if an attack were to occur. If your local law enforcement agency, school or workplace hasn’t trained you in what to do; ask them to immediately!

In the meantime, this piece examines what can be done to try and make Americans more vigilant and mentally prepared for what may occur.

Click here to read the full story in The Hill.

America needs security, not the appearance thereof (The Hill)

In this week’s column in The Hill, I question America’s resolve and preparedness to address the continual rise of violence facing society. Does America learn from past attacks here and abroad, or is it collectively just trying to ‘get back to normal’? Security is an ever-evolving discipline, and leaders need to continuously evolve to protect our nation’s citizens and infrastructure.

Please click here to read the full piece in The Hill.

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.

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.

The Hill: Are we safer 15 years after 9/11?

My latest piece in The Hill examines the state of the American posture 15 years after the attacks on September 11, 2001.  This one is dedicated to those brave men and women we lost 15 years ago, Sunday. May their lives not be lost in vein.

Please click here to read the full story.

Buffalo News: Why police officers get the benefit of the doubt

Buffalo NEws 7-16-16 Masthead

Published on July 16, 2016 following the assisinations of Law Enforcement Officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge brought upon by harsh rhetoric toward policing practices in America.
By A. Benjamin Mannes

The horrifying carnage in Dallas following the recorded police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota has once again brought forth a heated, racially charged debate on police use of force in America.

The Black Lives Matter movement and related groups have painted the police shootings of African-Americans as an epidemic of racism. The “killer cop” narrative is often in direct conflict with the evidence that is later made public when an investigation is completed.

In Ferguson, Mo., two autopsies, a state investigation and a federal investigation concluded that Mike Brown assaulted the police officer who took his life. In New York, the media and protesters focused on Eric Garner’s saying “I can’t breathe” and attributed his death to an unauthorized choke hold administered by a far smaller police officer. However, expert grand jury testimony showed that it was Garner’s obesity and bad heart that contributed to his death, leading jurors to disregard the priviously reported findings of the DiBlasio-appointed NYC Medical Examiner.  If the police had administered a true “choke hold” on him, he would not have been physically able to resist arrest and say “I can’t breathe.”

So why is the public, through the media, so quick to judge the police? Consider these facts:

• The law enforcement community functions with intense oversight and scrutiny, from internal affairs to inspectors general, to civilian oversight boards, to elected mayors and their appointed police executives.

• The average law enforcement officer udergoes a background investigation, psychological exam, months in a training academy and a year of both probation and field training.

• Lastly, if the news footage from the scene at Dallas showed anything, it’s that being a member of a public safety agency or military shows how little racist one can be.

Dallas officers, white, black or brown, were rushing to protect their fellow officers and the very protesters who cursed their name that night. These men and women volunteer to take a job with marginal pay to serve the very communities that are demonizing them as you read this.

It may not be “cool” or “progressive” to side with law enforcement, but it’s hard work and they deserve the respect they have earned by raising their hand to take a dangerous position of public service in the very communities accusing them of hatred.

The metrics and independent, scientific evidence support these statements, So what will it take to get people to take a breath and let the process play out before staging knee-jerk protests, fueled by a competitive, ad-driven media, that tie up valuable police resources that can be spent preventing and responding to violence in underserved communities without any regard for potential facts or outcomes?

A. Benjamin Mannes serves on the Criminal Justice Board at Peirce College in Philadelphia.

 

Arizona Republic: 5 ways to address mass shootings (without the politics)

AZ Republic Masthead 7-13-16

Published on July 13, 2016 in the [Phoenix] Arizona Republic following the mass shootings in Orlando and Dallas.

My Turn: Too often, lawmakers turn their attention to solutions that won’t work. Here are a few that will.

In December 2012, my op-ed was published in the Philadelphia Daily News offering effective responses that can be taken by lawmakers and leaders to address the Sandy Hook massacre, in conjunction with writing my elected officials to plead for common-sense solutions to violent crime.

Now, three-and-a-half years later, I find myself writing again in response to the incidents at San Bernardino, Orlando and Dallas in addition to the thousands who are victimized senselessly on the streets of America’s cities every year.

As an expert in law enforcement and security, I am wrought with disappointment and disbelief at how quickly a massacre like the Orlando attack can be politicized by the media and lawmakers.

Why simply ‘banning’ firearms won’t work

The argument predictably shifted from the search for answers in the attack to the tools used in the attack. Why? It’s politically a lot easier to blame the weapons used in the attack than to delve into the murky waters of the current psyche of our nation, why these incidents are on the rise, and what we can do to prevent future incidents.

An astute observation to make is: Despite all the talking heads, why has the majority of our nation’s law enforcement stayed off the issue of the weapon used, and on the issue of the assailants in question?

One reason is because law-enforcement professionals know that an operable, maintained firearm could work for over 100 years, and there are approximately more than 300 million firearms owned in the United States. Regardless, our legislators hurried to draft a bill to regulate a few specific types of weapons, which would have little effect on the underlying issue of the few dangerous people seeking to use these weapons unlawfully.

Therefore, one should ask political leaders if there are more effective ways to address this vital issue to our security.

5 solutions that’ll actually work

I want to offer some ways our legislators can address  mass violence and invest in effective strategies for security, law enforcement and mental-health treatment, including:

  • Refine legislation that actually improves the myriad existing, effective laws, which include a requirement for background checks for personal transfers (which could be as easy as the parties of a personal sale going to a gun store or police station to show identification when privately selling a firearm) and immediate legislation for public-safety modifications to health-privacy laws (HIPAA). The HIPAA revision should fund the creation of a state mental-health treatment database, to tie mandatory notifications from mental-health professionals to law enforcement when someone is undergoing treatment for potentially dangerous conditions (to include outpatient treatment when pharmacological intervention is required), who can cross-check files with firearms registration (and requests to buy new weapons).
  • Immediately increase funding for the enforcement of existing laws, which includes recruitment and support for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and its task forces, to better target interstate smuggling and straw-purchasing of illegal firearms; and providing timely enforcement when a prohibited person is seeking a firearm. This can also accompany federal support for state firearms enforcement and heightened sentences for other crimes where a firearm was used or recovered, similar to “Face 5” in Georgia or “Project Exile” in Virginia.
  • Legislate professional standards for security and law-enforcement officers specializing in critical infrastructure protection, as America needs to accept the need for professionally trained and equipped staff on-site to intervene if an incident occurs.
  • Require training in the safe handling, retention and use of a firearm for any civilian owner, similar to qualifications that security officers must complete, as well as laws addressing the securing of firearms at home, to prevent theft or access by prohibited persons.
  • Fund training for workplaces and schools in recognizing and reporting abnormal behavior, and fund an early-intervention tip line coordinated with local law enforcement.

Although these solutions are less “popular” in addressing the threat of mass-violence, I hope that my elected officials can begin a meaningful, non-partisan discussion with an impact on violent crime. Offering popular legislation that does not pass is the equivalent of “kicking of the can down the road,” but if we are to work together to address the causes versus the tools used, we may be able to save lives.

A. Benjamin Mannes serves as governor on the executive board of InfraGard, the FBI-coordinated public-private partnership for critical infrastructure protection, and is a member of the Peirce College criminal justice studies advisory board. Email him at bmannes@philadelphiainfragard.org; Twitter, @PublicSafetySME.