INtelligence and Law Enforcement Training Seminar, 2017
By Kara D. Sidener, M.F.S.
Captain Richard Phillips delivers the keynote address during the 2nd annual Gulf Coast INLETS dinner at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In the post-9/11 threat environment, state, local, tribal, and other law enforcement partners need greater investigative proficiency—despite limited resources—for complex, dynamic threats. Nearly half of the police departments in the United States employ less than 10 sworn officers, and agencies of all sizes struggle with tight budgets that typically prioritize operations over training. The INtelligence and Law Enforcement Training Seminar (INLETS) was created to provide tools, resources, and quality instruction to those charged with protecting communities.
In 2011 the FBI’s Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., offices partnered with the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC), one of the first fusion centers in the country to combine information sharing and analysis, and InfraGard, a nonprofit collaborative partnership between the FBI and public and private entities aligned with critical infrastructure, to design a 3-day conference in which large agencies could share their expertise and resources with smaller departments.1 The conference focused on violent crime and terrorism trends, innovative investigative techniques, current threats, and lessons learned. It became known as INLETS.
Since 2011, INLETS has been held annually in Annapolis, Maryland. It has grown from a 3-day conference to a weeklong program with an enrichment visit to a historic site, an awards dinner with a keynote speaker, and over 32 hours of briefings and instruction. In 2015, at the request of FBI headquarters and InfraGard, INLETS expanded to the Gulf Coast region and since has held two weeklong seminars in New Orleans, Louisiana. This year, a third INLETS program will provide training to those on the West coast and beyond. It will be held in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The weeklong program includes general keynote sessions, concurrent specialized blocks, and multiday workshops (akin to miniature focused courses). Keynote speakers cover topics, such as terrorism trends, threat assessment, deception detection, and civilian response to active-shooter incidents, that impact and interest all attendees. Concurrent blocks include more in-depth presentations on varied topics, like sextortion cases, outlaw motorcycle gangs, mobile device investigations, and human trafficking. Multiday workshops train attendees in such specialized techniques as interview and interrogation exploitation, crime scenes involving improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and social media exploitation.
The conference also includes training by international partners. In 2013, a New Scotland Yard detective inspector briefed attendees on four July 2005 suicide bombing attacks that occurred in London. In 2014, a Norwegian Police Service commander discussed a 2011 lone-wolf attack in which 77 people died and 200 were injured. In 2015, a French National Police commandant discussed the attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris for the first time in the United States.
A police lieutenant attended an INLETS conference session about missing special-needs children. He shared his knowledge with a colleague searching for a missing child with autism, who later was located near a body of water as the INLETS presenter had discussed.
An FBI agent learned at an INLETS session how to prosecute a homicide involving a missing body. She later relied on the presenter to assist in a similar successful prosecution in her territory.
A briefing on landfill searches benefited a police officer. He later used what he learned to find the body of a girl whose mother had killed and disposed of her in a dumpster.
INLETS also features a nationally known speaker for an evening awards dinner. Over the years, INLETS has welcomed such renowned speakers as Captain Richard Phillips, the ship captain kidnapped by Somali pirates at sea; Mark “Oz” Geist, one of the security operators in Benghazi, Libya; and Rob O’Neill, the man credited with killing Osama Bin Laden.
“The lecture on sovereign citizens opened my eyes to who they are and what they are about. I have had many instances here regarding sovereigns who have been arrested…. One [subject] in particular filed liens [against] some of the judges, as well as an assistant district attorney. We not only got everything dismissed, [but] we contacted the State Department and had him deported to India. The contact list of attendees also has proven valuable [because] I have contacted…other agencies when I needed assistance in their jurisdictions. Keep up the good training!”
Since its inception, over 4,000 individuals have attended INLETS programs. These individuals have come from over 400 agencies, 32 states, 50 institutions of higher education, and 20 InfraGard chapters.
Organizers point to the triad—MCAC, the FBI, and InfraGard—as the key to the program’s success. MCAC provides financial support because it recognizes the extent to which state and local law enforcement agencies benefit from such in-depth instruction. It also serves as the dissemination entity that informs all other fusion centers of the training. The Washington, D.C., InfraGard chapter (the National Capital Region Members Alliance, or InfraGardNCR) is the fiduciary agent and represents private and public partners across all critical infrastructure sectors.
The FBI’s Baltimore and Washington offices identify and recruit expert presenters who can help attendees improve their investigative and analytical skills. As INLETS grows into other jurisdictions, it relies on replicating the triad—local fusion center, FBI office, and InfraGard chapter—to jointly plan the seminar and strengthen partnerships in that locale.
The remaining 2017 offering of INLETS will take place September 11 to 15 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Regardless of your geographic location, attendance is open to law enforcement officers, investigators, and analysts; campus police and safety departments; U.S. government personnel, especially Department of Defense employees; and InfraGard and ASIS International members who are security, safety, or risk practitioners.
For more information and to register for INLETS Hawaii, go to www.ontheinlets.com.
1 Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center, http://www.mcac.maryland.gov/ (accessed July 7, 2017); and InfraGard, https://www.infragard.org/ (accessed July 7, 2017).