At the 108th Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs
of Police (IACP) in Toronto, Canada, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III
stated, "I've always believed that law enforcement is only as good
as its relationships, that our combined resources and expertise and ideas
are far beyond the sum of their parts, and that the potential for greater
successes through mutual cooperation and respect is boundless."
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks the FBI has been made aware
of the concerns of law enforcement officers regarding their need for information
to help them do their jobs safely, efficiently, and completely. With that
in mind, Director Mueller has dedicated a senior FBI official to create
a Headquarters level office of intergovernmental affairs.
Kathleen McChesney, was named the Executive Assistant Director of Law
Enforcement Services, and will oversee this key function. She has a strong
investigatory and leadership background, and spent seven years as a King
County, Washington, police officer. This office will serve as a central
point of contact for the nation's many law enforcement organizations.
McChesney stated that the FBI would use successful endeavors such as
interagency terrorism working groups and joint terrorism task forces (JTTFs)
to more effectively investigate planned or actual terrorist incidents.
The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), Violent Gang/Terrorist Organization
file and Law Enforcement Online (LEO) will also be used to communicate
information. Additionally, FBI-sponsored training for police officers,
conference calls, citizen academies, and meetings between the Special
Agents in Charge of the Field Offices and their state and local counterparts
will be part of this cooperative effort.
Terrorism task forces have been in place for over 20 years--the first
JTTF established in New York City in 1980. The JTTF concept has proven
to be one of the most successful way to address terrorism investigations
through an interagency approach involving the law enforcement and public
There are currently 36 JTTFs in operation, and Director Mueller has asked
that JTTFs be established as soon as possible in those cities where they
do not exist. As Director Mueller stated to the IACP, "While these
task forces aren't a panacea, they do break down stereotypes and communications
barriers, more effectively coordinate leads, and help get the right resources
in the right places. In short, they meld us together in ways that make
information sharing a non-issue."
In addition to the JTTFs there are six Regional Terrorism Task Forces
(RTTFs) in existence. FBI agents meet with their federal, state, and local
counterparts in each of these regions on a semiannual basis for training,
discussion on investigations, and to share intelligence.
Besides the use of the terrorism task forces, the FBI is exploring other
means for opening the lines of communication in the law enforcement community.
For example, the Bureau is exploring the possibility of establishing a
permanent FBI, state and local Advisory Board which will be comprised
of sate and local law enforcement executives. The FBI is also working
on developing training deliverables such as CD ROMS for every police agency
regarding international and domestic terrorism investigations. This initiative
does promise to be a valuable tool law enforcement tool, especially for
agencies whose dealings in this area are infrequent.
There are several systems in use today that have assisted the law enforcement
community under a "shared management" concept for many years.
The FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS) has worked
with the criminal justice community in the management and operation of
three national criminal justice information systems: NCIC, Integrated
Automated Fingerprint Identification System or IAFIS, and LEO.
With these systems, representatives from federal, local, and state law
enforcement entities work as partners. They participate in decisions regarding
the policy, technical, and procedural aspects of the systems--the participation
is voluntary, but over 100,000 agencies contribute to, and or have access
to, the information maintained at CJIS.
Information sharing is a high priority of the FBI. The Bureau will continue
to build stronger and more supportive relationships with all levels of
law enforcement nationwide by using the successful mechanisms already
in place and by working together in the implementation of new initiatives.