Global Project Against Hate and Extremism Co-Founder Heidi Beirich co-taught the inaugural course in October for law enforcement personnel on “Extremists in Law Enforcement: Understanding the Problem and Crafting Solutions.” The course was hosted by the University of Southern California’s Safe Communities Institute (SCI) and co-taught by Tony McAleer, a former neo-Nazi who now works to expose the dangers of the movement.
This course was conceived of after the horrifying events on January 6, where several active law enforcement officers were in the ranks of the insurrectionists and some were also members of hate and militia groups. Though it is a small number, the infiltration of extremists into law enforcement poses dire threats to the communities that law enforcement serves, the cases law enforcement brings, and the integrity and culture of law enforcement agencies. Extremists also pose a serious safety threat to law enforcement, with dozens of officers killed by extremists in recent years.
With more than 30 officers in attendance, the half-day course provided an overview of the problem, an in-depth look at signs of extremism from white supremacist to anti-government organizations, an assessment of the damage extremists can inflict, and tackled the issue of addressing the problem while respecting civil liberties. The course dove into the reasons extremists groups attempt to recruit law enforcement, the goals of these extremist groups, and the need for best practices to root extremists from the ranks.
SCI is directed by Erroll Southers, author of Homegrown Violent Extremism, a former federal agent and appointee to several government bodies, and former President Obama’s first nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Transportation Security Administration. It also hosts the LEWIS registry, a new national database to document all police officers who were terminated or resigned due to misconduct, including excessive use of force, corruption, violent extremism, domestic violence, sexual assault, physical assault and harassment, perjury, falsifying a police report, and planting or destroying evidence.
More information about the course can be found here.