Following the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995, the U.S. Attorney General asked BJA to develop a counter-terrorism training program for law enforcement in the United States. Developed in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the SLATT Program was designed to provide instruction to enable state, local, and tribal law enforcement to recognize the precursor indicators of terrorist activity in order to help prevent acts of terrorism in the U.S. Since its inception in 1996, the SLATT Program has trained more than 142,000 state, local, and tribal law enforcement professionals throughout the country.
Prior to the attacks on September 11, 2001, few internationally inspired attacks in the United States caused deaths, injuries, or even significant property damage. Other than the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, few pre-9/11 international attacks in the U.S. received media attention. Most of the pre-9/11 attacks against Americans occurred overseas, including the 1998 bombings of the American Embassies in East Africa; the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland (189 Americans killed); and the many kidnappings and murders of Americans during the 1980s, especially in Lebanon. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, terrorism experts had recognized the emerging threats from groups such as al Qaeda. Since that time, despite significant efforts from law enforcement in the United States to collect, analyze, and share information, the threat from both domestic and international terrorism continues to grow. The rise of groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the continued threat from al Qaeda’s spin off groups such as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) make the job of law enforcement more difficult. The opportunities many of these groups have to radicalize westerners, including American youth, using the Internet makes it much more difficult for state, local, and tribal law enforcement to prevent future attacks. As such it is important to ensure these officers receive top-level training to recognize threats from terrorist groups.
Counter-terrorism investigations often cross over into activities which may be protected by the United States Constitution, such as the taking of photographs, assembling in constitutionally protected events, or professing beliefs which may not be considered mainstream. The SLATT Program provides clarity and reinforcement of these protections, which will assist officers to understand the distinction between crimes of terrorism and other precursor activities and constitutionally protected activities. This allows law enforcement to protect the civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy of individual citizens.
Training and assistance is provided through:
On-site training—bringing the training to the field.
A secured website for law enforcement—containing a multitude of resources, information, and a virtual library.
Customized technical assistance.
Train-the-Trainer—a course designed for qualified law enforcement trainers, intended to assist agencies in developing in-house anti-terrorism training capabilities by providing quality instruction, takeaway resources, and access to a dedicated website to obtain current information to keep their presentations updated.
The BJA SLATT Program has established long-term partnerships with the FBI, fusion centers, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices. The FBI frequently participates in SLATT workshops through the local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) and is able to provide a local perspective that creates the potential for future networking opportunities.
A critical component of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the FBI is the nation’s lead federal law enforcement agency for investigating and preventing acts of domestic and international terrorism. Since DOJ retains this responsibility, it is fitting that BJA is the host and sponsor of the SLATT Program—the only training program designated to provide information specifically to state, local, and tribal law enforcement to help identify precursor indicators and prevent acts of terrorism, rather than responding to an act after it occurs. SLATT is unique in the unprecedented depth and range of terrorism prevention expertise that the program offers—SLATT instructors have worked on many of the most notorious terrorism cases, and their personal law enforcement experience helps the audience connect with them.
SLATT training programs fall under the following areas of interest:
The keys to preventing a possible terrorist or violent criminal extremist act are awareness and understanding what to look for.
Recognizing Terrorist Indicators and Warning Signs: This training provides a comprehensive overview of warning signs and indicators that law enforcement officers can use as they perform their day-to-day duties and explores how to identify those early warning signs often exhibited by criminal extremist groups and individuals.
Domestic Terrorism: This course discusses the motivations of violent criminal extremists who are driven by events occurring in the United States. The discussion includes criminal threats from militias, sovereign citizens, and white supremacists, as well as single-issue terrorism. It also examines investigation, response, and officer safety strategies for agencies in identifying and managing domestic criminal extremist cases.
Explosives, Methods, and Attacks: This presentation looks at peripheral information associated with explosive materials and chemicals and their relationship to terrorist activity. It stresses why the seemingly smallest bit of information should be forwarded to JTTFs or fusion centers. The types of explosives and their ease of manufacturing and delivery are also discussed. The course presents simple yet critically important strategies to implement in order to detect and identify future violators, which may prevent a terrorist act involving explosives.
Conducting the Interview and Interrogation: This course provides fundamental topics for preparing for high-impact subject interviews. The instructor also presents the theory of interrogation and defines several methods of conducting interrogations that have led to positive outcomes. The course is geared toward all law enforcement practitioners whose duties include interviewing and interrogation.
Intelligence-Led Policing: The evolution of today’s criminal and terrorist threats requires that law enforcement use intelligence practices to anticipate, prevent, and interdict criminal and terrorist activities. In this training, participants gain a greater understanding of how they can utilize the practice of intelligence-led policing, while leveraging national-level initiatives designed to assist them.
Preventing Terrorism Through Impostor Detection and Fraudulent ID Training: This course provides a familiarization with identity theft as it relates to criminal and terrorist acts, with an understanding of how criminals and terrorists use fraudulent identification. Participants learn about security features used on driver’s licenses, U.S. passports and permanent resident cards, and other federal documents. It provides information regarding the detection of impostors by utilizing facial recognition techniques.
Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing: This overview training discusses money laundering and its inverse partner, terrorist finance. It discusses common methodologies and provides law enforcement professionals with ideas, tools, and resources on how to “follow the money trail.”
Violent Criminal Extremism in the Prison System: This presentation explores how law enforcement can incorporate the intelligence potential from correctional departments into criminal cases, including those that involve terrorism.
Radicalization on College Campuses: This presentation focuses on the process by which individuals become involved in radical movements. It discusses how and why radicalization occurs, its progressive stages, and associated indicators so that campus public safety can use discussed techniques for identification and prevention/interdiction of radicalization on campus.
Terrorism Financing: This presentation examines law enforcement methodology for obtaining information from the banking industry, conducting a financial criminal investigation, and preparing a source and application of funds to use for forfeiture warrants and search warrants.
BJA and SLATT developed the Communities Against Terrorism (CAT) Program. CAT provides law enforcement agencies with a tool to proactively engage local community members to identify possible precursors of terrorist activity. It encourages network-building between law enforcement and the community as well as business leaders and helps to forge a mutual sense of responsibility to combat terrorism. CAT provides industry-specific information on indicators and activities that may be associated with the planning and preparation of a terrorist attack. By providing information about potential terrorism indicators to businesses, law enforcement enhances its ability to prevent acts of terror.
Agencies can use the flier templates provided through CAT in their outreach efforts within their communities. They are customizable, allowing agencies to include their seals, logos, or emblems. The templates contain potential terrorism indicators that have been created for distribution to specific industries.
SLATT produces a number of training materials that are available in limited quantities at no charge to law enforcement. All SLATT materials are law enforcement sensitive and are for official use only. To learn more about SLATT, receive publications, register for an upcoming training, request to host a SLATT training, or access CAT materials, visit the password-protected www.slatt.org.
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State & Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT)
Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA): Counter-Terrorism
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Terrorism
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS): State Homeland Security and Emergency Services
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