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START Director invited to serve on Maryland domestic terrorism task force

START Director invited to serve on Maryland domestic terrorism task force

November 19, 2021Erin Copland

Last month, START Director William Braniff was invited to serve on the newly created Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM) Task Force on Preventing and Countering Domestic Terrorism.

This Task Force was established by the state of Maryland in April, and will be chaired by MDEM Executive Director Russell Strickland. Other members of the Task Force include elected officials, faith-based leaders, community organizers, members of public safety and academia.

In March, Braniff provided testimony to the Maryland General Assembly in favor of bills in both bodies regarding creating a state-level domestic terrorism task force. Drawing on various START datasets, Braniff highlighted the relatively higher threat from domestic terrorism than international terrorism, and highlighted the importance of accounting for ideologically-motivated hate crime as well as terrorism when addressing domestic violent extremism.

Braniff also recommended the State take a multidisciplinary, public health approach to violence prevention, and not just a law enforcement-centric approach to the issue, and encouraged the State to take advantage of research-based resources provided by the National Governors Association in the form of the Governors Roadmap to Preventing Targeted Violence.