Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremism

Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremism
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-10-12
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremism
Unit 2Transcript: Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremism
Unit 3Workbook: Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremism
Unit 4Recording: Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremism

There were over 9000 Far-Right incidents between 1993 and 2021, 300 of which specifically targeted law enforcement and other entities. When it comes to responding to incidents of violence committed by Far-Right extremists, it is also law enforcement that is on the frontlines. These highlight the importance of understanding the nuances of these movements so law enforcement can respond better when they mobilize.

This presentation is led by Katelyn Smith and Dr. Arie Perliger from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Kat is a Doctoral student in the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies with her research on the terrorist and criminal groups, counterinsurgency strategy and tactics, and violent extremism in the US. Meanwhile, Arie is a Professor and the director of the graduate program in security studies at the School of Criminology and Justice Studies. He is engaged in an extensive study of issues related to terrorism and political violence, security policy, and politics with his studies cited in more than 2000 academic texts.

Specifics discussed in this session include:

  • Far-Left vs. Far-Right: What the two extremes of the political spectrum represent and advocate for, and comparing the violence that both commit.
  • The Far-Right ideological streams, the groups that fall into each one, and their motivations.
  • The core components of Far-Right Ideology that drive exclusion based on nationalism, tradition, nativism, and political ideology.
  • The prevalence of Far-Right incidents of violence, zeroing in on those that had law enforcement victims.
  • The demographics of perpetrators of Far-Right extremist violence in terms of history of incarceration, education, link with organized groups, and military and law enforcement affiliation or background.
  • The profiles of perpetrators with law enforcement and military links, the groups they tend to be drawn to, and a case example of violence with a Far-Right involved law enforcement.
  • How those with law enforcement and military backgrounds are targeted and recruited by Far-Right groups and what makes these groups appealing to those with law enforcement and military backgrounds.
  • The lack of established correlation between gun ownership and Far-Right extremism and violence.
  • The actual factors that impact Far-Right violence that look into the proportion of minorities in a region, developments in the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government, and a sense of all-or-nothing zero-sum game for extremists.
  • Common themes and messaging associated with different Far-Right groups for law enforcement to look out for, and what these groups view as a common adversary.
  • Symbols, icons, and other visual cues to familiarize with that indicate affiliation with Far-Right groups.
  • Disengagement and Deradicalization: Differentiating between the two, common reasons why Far-Right extremists may choose to disengage and deradicalize.
  • Guidelines on engaging with Far-Right extremists emphasizing…
    • How arguing and counternarratives polarize further and is a sure way to escalate interactions.
    • Sovereign Citizens’ propensity for paper terrorism by circumventing legal processes and utilizing unusual documentation.
    • Remaining cautious, careful, and calm and aiming to build rapport to acquire intel during encounters to make informed decisions.

Questions from the webinar participants are about:

  • The ideology behind Sovereign Citizens.
  • How domestic extremist groups leverage international current events to further their agenda.
  • The focus on Far-Right groups as opposed to Far-Left entities.
  • How Far-Right extremism in other countries influences US Far-Right groups.
  • How the incarceration of Oath Keepers’ and Proud Boys’ leaders impacted recruitment for Far-Right groups.
  • In-depth training for criminal justice professionals on domestic violent extremism.


Click here to view and register for other upcoming Law Enforcement webinars on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Excellent webinar.” — Robert
  • “This webinar was very informative, but I think it would have been beneficial to have a longer webinar for those of us who aren’t as well-versed in the subject matter.” — Shannon
  • “Very informative.” — Sandra
  • “It was interesting to hear the tactics that have and the codes so now we are knowledgeable and be on the lookout for these things when dealing with a person.” — Steffany
  • “Great Presentation and Slides!” — Michael
  • “The Presenter was great and had a lot of good information” — Alexandra
  • “The different types of groups that I didn’t know existed.” — Alexis
  • “The presenter, Kat, expertly and thoughtfully presented all the information. I learned a lot from this excellent webinar.” — Amber
  • “I like the fact that since this topic is becoming a rising issue, raising more awareness is beneficial on both a work and personal life level. I also liked how some misconceptions/assumptions were addressed, but also gives light to certain aspects.” — Antonette


Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Threats to Law Enforcement from Domestic Violent Extremists. Q&A with the Presenters
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