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Recommendations to counter violent extremism

New report offers framework to law enforcement, government agencies, community members

Based on findings from the National Summit on Empowering Communities to Prevent Violent Extremism, a new report articulates important paradigm shifts in countering violent extremism and provides a framework that addresses what law enforcement, other government agencies and communities can do to enhance CVE efforts.

The summit and resulting report were coordinated and written by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

Core to the report are experience based recommendations that the more than 50 participants – people engaged in CVE efforts from federal, state and local, international and nongovernmental agencies – felt would improve community engagement, trust building, prevention and intervention programming for those at risk for engaging in violent extremism. The recommendations ultimately seek to help strengthen family, community and institutional defenses that will mitigate the risks for violent extremism.  

Among the recommendations:

Law enforcement-focused

  • Law enforcement organizations should prioritize building and strengthening mutual trust between themselves and the communities they serve.
  • To engage with communities, law enforcement organizations should be engaged with and responsive to community organizations and advocates consistently and over time.
  • Communication with a wide range of community partners on a broad range of topics should be part of the routine operations of law enforcement.
  • Law enforcement organizations should focus prevention and intervention activities on behaviors and not on racial, religious, or ethnic identity.
  • Law enforcement organizations should collaboratively develop and evaluate multilevel prevention and intervention programs.

Other government agencies-focused

  • Government agencies should aim to increase the civic engagement among marginalized communities and to build the capacity of community-based organizations.
  • Government agencies’ approaches to CVE should be based on sustained, collaborative partnerships with communities.
  • Government agencies should better leverage the contributions that other sectors, such as mental health and education, can make to CVE.
  • Government agencies’ CVE programs and policies should be based upon both best practices and scientific evidence.


  • Communities should advocate for a multicultural approach to working with law enforcement and other government agencies that includes not just one ethnic or religious group and that aims to build capacities and increase civic engagement.
  • Community leaders and organizations should advocate for partnerships with law enforcement that address a range of public safety issues including but not limited to CVE, such as domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking and gang violence.
  • Communities should advocate for the use of community policing approaches for law enforcement to engage with communities on matters of CVE and other pertinent issues.
  • Community leaders and organizations should work with law enforcement to develop procedures for nonpunitive ways of helping people who are in the precriminal space of radicalization and recruitment.
  • Community organizations should build community-led CVE efforts either independently or in partnership with law enforcement, government or private institutions.

The full report, “Report on the National Summit on Empowering Communities to Prevent Violent Extremism,” is available on the COPS website at http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p326-pub.pdf and was authored by Stevan Weine and William Braniff of START, with support from COPS and FLETC. The national summit took pace in August 2014 at FLETC’s headquarters.

Summaries of the report’s best practice recommendations can be found on the START website at: