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10 Ways Police Can Identify Radical Extremism

5/16/2017 6:00:00 AM

10 Ways Police Can Identify Radical Extremism

By Leischen Stelter, editor of In Public Safety

Police officers around the country understand they are an important element in the fight against terrorism. But what does that entail? How can an officer identify potential terrorist activity? What should officers look for as signs a person may have been radicalized?

[Related: Training Police in Counterintelligence to Combat Domestic Terrorism]

During the 2nd annual Gulf Coast INLETS seminar in April in New Orleans, Brig Barker, who spent 20 years as a counterterrorism agent with the FBI and is considered an expert on the Jihadist mindset, gave a presentation called Homegrown Violent Extremists: Counterterrorism Strategies for Law Enforcement.

During this session, he discussed some of the signs of radicalization that officers should look for during their normal duties. For example, officers need to be on the lookout for books and magazines that promote the ideology of terrorist leaders and Jihadist scholars. “If you see certain propaganda during a traffic stop, you need to recognize it and be able to evaluate it,” said Barker.

[Related:  Understanding Homegrown Extremists]

Officers should have a basic working knowledge of popular and influential terrorist leaders as well as of historical Jihadist scholars especially during traffic stops, search warrants, and parole/probation searches. This way, if they see such materials while on duty, they’ll recognize there’s a greater chance that person has been radicalized. Officers should be concerned if they see materials from such historical scholars such as:

  • Sayed Qutb
  • Abdullah Azzam
  • Ibn Taymiyya
  • Ibn Abd Al Wahab
  • Abul Maududi
  • Abu Muhammad Al Maqdisi


READ ARTICLE and review the 10 Factors Indicating Radicalization


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