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Column 102008 Brewer
MEXIDATA . INFO
Monday, October 20, 2008 Law Enforcement Must Comprehend Changes in Policing By Jerry Brewer North American law enforcement is at its greatest crossroads ever. Innovative programs and strategies have emerged over the last few decades that have brought a softer approach to police and citizen interaction, as well as a "get tough on crime" mandate. Some bringing police, clergy, and community leaders together to end violence, however the tide has turned and a profound metamorphosis is needed. This catalyst in change has been a way of life and protocol for many Latin American nations, albeit not on the current magnitude, nor the consequences so dire. They are fighting a war of overwhelming proportions. Their war is not only with organized and transnational criminals, and terrorists, but also from within their own ranks. Their problems manifested in corruption, lack of professionalism, lack of training and leadership, as well as the lack of adequate funding. The enemy is exploiting this to epidemic proportions, and ritually spilling their blood over the streets of their homelands. While U.S. police and many other innovative policing organizations have adopted community-oriented philosophies, many of those throughout Latin America have struggled to even keep their jobs, as well as survive. In the majority of circumstances doing nothing and ignoring the "protect and serve" motto is a safeguard for staying alive. U.S. policing strategies must now focus on what has previously been a shorter range vision on terroristic behaviors that go beyond aircraft and skyscrapers, and suicide/homicide bombers. The terror in our homeland comes in the form of wellarmed transnational organized criminals/gangs versus local turf
holders, the murder of police and innocent victims left in the wake. The carnage and ritual slaughter in Mexico has progressively moved forward to the U.S. border. What is apparently difficult for many to see is that any border, including a fenced border, does not and will not contain the criminal elements or the tools of their trade, which are sophisticated weapons of choice. Too, it is not all about drugs. Weapons and human trafficking also bring massive profits. Immigrant gangsters, such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) from Central America, are now reported to be in 48 U.S. states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. Federal authorities report that "60 to 90 percent" of the members of MS-13 are illegal aliens. Almost half are reported to be violent offenders, and a staggering statistic showed the transnational nature of this melting pot with 53 different countries represented. What has rapidly escalated through South and Central America, as well as in Mexico and the United States, is nothing short of a "terrorism to radicalism" change agent. In a sense it is the revolutionary model that had its infancy stages from Leon Trotsky to Che Guevara. These radicalized insurgents that have infiltrated U.S. cities for control of turf began with the MS-13 gang, with new elements of paramilitary trained individuals from Central America to Mexico joining the drug cartels as powerful enforcers. The cartels were quick to hire the most vicious and highly trained forces and assassins. They have left a trail of death and destruction from police and government officials to women and children. The lure to the United States has been fueled by a voracious demand for contraband, as opposed to a jihadist (holy war) terrorist motivation. As far back as 1990, on the streets of Cairo, Egypt, a spokesman for the Islamic group Al-Jihad was killed by what was believed to be government officials. The Group announced its intention to respond with a terror campaign. Dozens of police officers and intellectuals were murdered. Later the tourist industry was targeted. A current leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was a part of this movement back then and believed violence was the fuel that "kept this radical Islamist organization running." According to al-Zawahiri, "They had no future without terror." Suicide attacks were necessary because "it was the means to defend" themselves and their cause. These statements clearly demonstrate why radicalization has emerged in these current times. Terrorist radicalization and their culture of violence has evolved and been nurtured throughout Latin America. The mission is to reject law and authority with murderous violence and mayhem. Their weapons and tactics are sophisticated. Understanding the new role in policing the homeland is critical
for police administrators. In lieu of a cry for less anti-terrorist dollars and more for traditional crime, strategic thought and impetus will clearly show that this new radicalized culture of terror far exceeds, influences, and challenges traditional crime for turf and other assets. It requires more technical expertise, tools and training, acute strategic and focused leadership, and an understanding of what Mexico, for example, is trying so valiantly to interdict. —————————— Jerry Brewer is Vice President of Criminal Justice International Associates, a global risk mitigation firm headquartered in Miami, Florida. He can be reached at email@example.com.