Many of us have been wondering why the raids on Occupy camps across the country have had such a coordinated feel. If only the official response to real social ills could have been as timely and widespread as the crackdown on peaceful demonstrators expressing their freedom of speech, assembly, and the press covering their protest. An article at Examiner.com was understandably derided as being under-sourced for a charge as serious as a national DHS crackdown on non-violent protests. However, we have now received confirmation via Amy Goodman's interview on the 11/17 episode of Democracy Now! with PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler that this private NGO coordinated high-level conference calls amongst 40 police chiefs, distinct from the mayoral "therapy session" referred to by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, in order to broadcast advice and documentation about cracking down on the Occupy social movement.
From the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
But a little-known but influential private membership based organization has placed itself at the center of advising and coordinating the crackdown on the encampments. The Police Executive Research Forum, an international non-governmental organization with ties to law enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been coordinating conference calls with major metropolitan mayors and police chiefs to advise them on policing matters and discuss response to the Occupy movement. The group has distributed a recently published guide on policing political events.
Speaking to Democracy Now! On November 17, PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler acknowledged PERF's coordination of a series of conference-call strategy sessions with big-city police chiefs. These calls were distinct from the widely reported national conference calls of major metropolitan mayors.
The coordination of political crackdowns on the Occupy movement has been conducted behind closed doors, with city officials and PERF refusing to say how many cities participated in the conference calls and the exact nature of the discussions. Reports of at least a dozen cities and some indication of as many as 40 accepting PERF advice and/or strategic documents include San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Portland, Oakland, Atlanta, and Washington DC.
There is now a crowdsourced investigation into #PERF and their various activities, associations, and documents. Here are some interesting tidbits being picked up:
PERF Active Projects
Use of Force Outcomes: This is a national use of force project focusing on less-lethal weapons and less-lethal force. It is being conducted in conjunction with the University of South Carolina and the University of South Florida. The project will review less lethal force technologies, training, policies, and usages. The project involves a national study of approximately 1000 law enforcement agencies by the PERF Law Enforcement Center for Survey Research (LECSR). The project also involves individual interviews of police officers who have used force and persons who have been the subject of a police use of force. This research project uses multiple methods to provide a broad and comprehensive evaluation of use of force outcomes. Included within its scope are a national survey of law enforcement agencies’ less lethal technologies, policies, training, and usages, a multi-site evaluation (20-25 agencies) of how organizational-level factors influence force outcomes (e.g. injuries, nature and incidence of force), a case study analysis that uses force data from two large law enforcement agencies to examine incident-level predictors of outcomes, a time-series of analysis of how the adoption of conducted energy devices (CEDs) may impact outcomes, and an in-depth review of less lethal force decision-making using interviews with officers and subjects involved in use of force encounters. Together, these components are designed to address deficiencies in previous research and answer the following critical research questions: (1) What is the current state of less lethal policy, practice, training, and usage among American law enforcement agencies?, (2) How do organizational and incident-level factors in use of force encounters affect critical outcomes such as officer and subject injuries or the nature and extent of force used, including deadly force?, (3) How do use of force outcomes among otherwise similar events differ according to the availability and use of less lethal weapons?, (4) Does an agency’s decision to adopt CEDs influence use of force outcomes?, and (5) How and why are decisions made by officers and subjects during use of force encounters and how can those encounters be managed better to produce more desirable outcomes?
Homeland Security Advisory Council Members
Chuck Wexler, Executive Director, Police Executive Research Forum
Chuck Wexler is Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a Washington, D.C.-based policing think tank. He leads a staff that conducts policing research, provides management services and consulting for police agencies, and develops senior police executives to be tomorrow’s police chiefs. PERF’s research has a direct impact on policy and practice in policing around the world. Prior to working at PERF, Mr. Wexler worked as operations assistant to the Police Commissioner in Boston.
Chief William “Bill” Bratton (Vice Chair), Chairman of Kroll, Altegrity Security Consulting
Chief William Bratton (vice-chair) was recently named the Chairman of Kroll, part of Altegrity Security Consulting. Bratton began his law enforcement career in 1970, and has served as Los Angeles Police Department Chief, Chief of the New York City Transit Police, Boston Police Commissioner, and New York City Police Commissioner. He is also the only executive to serve two terms as the elected President of the Police Executive Research Forum. Chief Bratton's professional honors include the Schroeder Brothers Medalthe Boston Police Department's highest award for valor.
Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group
Slide 21: Recommendations to DHS on
• Continue efforts to ensure that fusion centers have the capacity to
receive and understand threat-related information and to share
that knowledge with local authorities. DHS should work with fusion
centers so that fusion centers have a greater capacity to understand (a) the
threat posed by ideologically-motivated criminal activity and share that
knowledge with local law enforcement, and (b) cultural, societal, and religious
customs so that intelligence is placed in context and legal behavior is
distinguished from criminal activity
Protecting Your Community From Terrorism: Strategies for Local Law Enforcement
pg. 19 - Chapter Three: STATE AND LOCAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND MODELS FOR COOPERATION
JUST AS LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT MUST WORK WITH DHS and other federal authorities to secure the homeland, similar efforts to foster partnerships between law enforcement and other nonfederal stakeholders are critical. These partnerships are the focus of this chapter. The following sections reflect executive session participants’ discussions of cooperation among state homeland security authorities, local and state law enforcement agencies, and local departments’ initiatives with neighboring jurisdictions and key stakeholders. The intent is to provide a broad overview of the types of coordinated efforts that can advance counterterrorism work.
CRITICAL ISSUES IN POLICING SERIES - Managing Major Events: Best Practices from the Field
chapter 7, pg. 31 - Large-scale political events often present police with a dual challenge: managing crowds of peaceful participants or demonstrators, while at the
same time managing violent or aggressive protesters who are smaller in number but more difficult to control. At the PERF Executive Session, representatives of the St. Paul Police Department and the Minneapolis Police Department shared their experiences dealing with protesters at the 2008 Republican National Convention. And Toronto Superintendent Tom Russell offered advice based on the 2010 G-20 protests in his city.
Find more interesting information at their website, and join the crowdsourced investigation by tweeting with the #PERF topic hashtag.