is the fourth IACP annual conference I have attended.
This is one of my favorite events every year because
it gives me the chance to speak to friends and colleagues
from around the world.
I want to share a story I sometimes tell graduates
of the FBI’s National Academy, of which many
of you are graduates. It is about building the bonds
of teamwork and sharing advice and expertise on
cases. And, how, sometimes, teamwork helps solve
cases even before leaving the academy.
Just last year, three National Academy students
put their training and teamwork to use right at
their hotel near Quantico. A 17-year-old burglar
was attempting to break into a van nearby. Now,
you would think that since he was local, the burglar
would have known that might be a bad idea. Instead,
this budding criminal mastermind quickly found himself
tackled and handcuffed by a Memphis detective, a
New York state trooper, and a North Carolina DEA
If only all of our cases were so easy to solve.
Today, I want to talk about how we are making our
jobs easier by working together to protect our communities,
our country, and the world.
As a great basketball player once said, “The
more we play unselfishly, the more everybody gets
involved, the better the flow of the game.”
And with everybody involved, our teamwork is better
than ever. Despite the need for us to reallocate
resources to the war on terrorism, violent crime
continues to drop. Our streets are safer than they
were a decade ago.
Thousands of the officers responsible for these
trends are here at this conference today. And on
behalf of the FBI and the American people, I want
to thank you for all that you have done. Members
of the IACP have demonstrated remarkable leadership
in the wake of September 11, and our nation is all
the better for it.
This morning, I want to talk about three areas where
the partnership between the FBI and state, local,
and international law enforcement has improved over
the past three years. These three areas are first,
sharing information; second, improving our capabilities;
and third, enhancing cooperation.
First, information sharing. We are sharing what
we know in new ways. Indeed, I want to thank the
IACP for leading the way in the development of the
National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan. In
the spring of 2002, law enforcement executives attending
an IACP summit recognized that local, state, tribal,
and federal law enforcement had to do a better job
of gathering and sharing intelligence. The participants
called for the creation of a nationally coordinated
criminal intelligence council that would develop
and oversee a national plan.
In May of this year, their efforts paid off, and
Chief Joe Polisar, Attorney General Ashcroft, Mel
Carraway, and others unveiled the finished product.
This plan is serving as the blueprint for implementing
our overall national strategy for intelligence sharing.
The FBI is proud to have had the opportunity to
work with the IACP on this plan, and we are committed
to its full implementation.
One of the key issues identified by those preparing
the plan was the need to break through the barriers
that hinder information sharing.
We have gotten the message. We know how important
it is that we share the information we collect with
you and your departments. Today, one of our top
priorities is improved service to our law enforcement
partners around the country.
Last December we opened the Terrorist Screening
Center. It has been operating 24 hours a day, 7
days a week ever since. The Center has consolidated
an enormous amount of international and domestic
terrorist information into a single database.
For the first time, federal, state and local law
enforcement officials have real-time connectivity
to the government’s most up-to-date terrorist
watchlist. This enables officials to respond quickly
when a known or suspected terrorist is encountered
during a routine law enforcement stop.
To date, the Center has received over 2,000 calls
from state and local law enforcement. Over 1,400
of these calls – 70 percent – resulted
in matches of the individual to a name on the list.
These matches generated numerous investigations,
many of which are on-going today. For example, in
one case, police ran a name of an individual and
were prompted to contact the Terrorist Screening
Center. As it turns out, the individual was affiliated
with a proscribed group and was also under investigation
by the FBI for his involvement in a pipe bomb incident.
The Center is a powerful tool in the war on terror
and a strong link between the FBI, the intelligence
community, and state and local law enforcement.
Second, in addition to sharing information more
effectively, we are improving our capabilities.
We are doing this in three ways – improving
technology, improving training and improving our
investigative techniques. Through technology, we
are developing another strong link between us. The
National Law Enforcement Data Exchange system, also
known as N–Dex, will revolutionize the way
we share information.
N-DEx is our response to requests from law enforcement
and the IACP for us to find an answer to the challenge
of information sharing. When complete, this will
be the first truly national information sharing
service. It will collect and process crime data
in support of investigations, crime analyses, law
enforcement administration, strategic and tactical
operations, and national security responsibilities.
N-DEx will correlate data from all major FBI databases,
such as NCIC and others. For the first time, the
FBI will be able to provide a “one stop shopping”
experience where combined data can be correlated
– all with an initial search response time
of about 30 seconds.
This will give us the ability to execute nationwide
inquiries from a single access point. To identify
trends and respond appropriately. To connect multijurisdictional
crimes. In short, to provide unprecedented access
to information allowing us to link cases, solve
crimes, and form broader investigative partnerships.
N-DEx is already being pilot-tested with the West
Virginia State Police and police departments in
Marietta, Georgia, and Alexandria, Virginia. I would
encourage everyone to stop by the FBI exhibit space
at this conference for a free demonstration so you
can see for yourselves what this new system will
do for all of us.
N-DEx is just one of the new ways the FBI is sharing
and leveraging the benefits of technology to enhance
law enforcement efforts.
Just six years ago, in October 1998, we worked with
20 state and local agencies to create the National
DNA Index System. Since then, the Combined DNA Index
System, known as CODIS, has helped solve, or aided
in more than 18,000 investigations nationwide. This
is one of the most important advances in forensic
technology. It has allowed us to work together to
solve cases that are often decades old.
I want to talk briefly about one of these cases
that began back in 1986. In October of that year,
a young woman in Maryland was sexually assaulted
and murdered in her home. DNA evidence was collected
and tested and preserved for the future. Two years
later, another woman, out for an early morning jog,
was also assaulted and killed. Again, police were
unable to charge anyone, but the DNA evidence was
preserved. In January 1993, a high school freshman
was murdered on her way to school. Near her body,
police found an unlit cigarette with saliva possibly
from her killer.
Maryland detectives never gave up on any of these
cases. And last year they submitted DNA from Alexander
Wayne Watson, Jr., an inmate sentenced to life in
prison, in 1994, for murdering a mother of two.
Eventually, matches came back for the three earlier
killings, and it became clear that Watson was a
serial killer who preyed upon local women. Thanks
to the work of Maryland cold case detectives and
CODIS, three families finally knew that the killer
of their loved one was safely behind bars.
Aside from technology, we are providing training.
One of our most successful efforts has been in training
the nation’s bomb technicians at the Hazardous
Devices School in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. This
September, we dedicated a new, state-of-the-art
facility for the school. It provides bomb technicians
with the latest tools and techniques for confronting
suicide bombers, large vehicle bombs, weapons of
mass destruction, and other threats.
Every year, the FBI trains more than 1100 students
at the Hazardous Devices School. We provide millions
of dollars of equipment to local bomb squads at
more than 400 agencies. And all of this equipment
is standardized. This means that a bomb tech from
California should have no problem operating equipment
in Texas, New York, or anywhere else in the United
States. Our nation’s police and fire departments
are the front line of defense against terrorists
and criminals. And providing you with training,
as well as equipment, is key to our counterterrorism
In addition to training, the FBI is working with
our state and local partners to develop even newer
techniques for analyzing evidence and combating
crime. These include new methods for extracting
DNA from bone, identifying latent prints from children,
and testing explosives. This year, in partnership
with departments in Ohio, Texas, and elsewhere,
we are working on flat fingerprint technology, license
plate readers, and other tools that will help us
track down criminals and better integrate our investigations.
Beyond improving our capabilities, the third way
we are strengthening our partnerships is through
better cooperation. We have worked hard to improve
cooperation at all levels. For example, FBI squads
are working closely with local police to address
gang issues across the country.
There are more than 20,000 active gangs in the United
States. The gangs are getting bigger. They are getting
more organized. And they are getting more dangerous.
There were nearly 8,000 gang-related homicides in
California alone from 1992 through 2003. People
in certain neighborhoods do not feel safe in their
own homes – how can they, when at any time,
a bullet could come flying through the wall? There
are parents who put their children to sleep in the
bathtub every night so that they will be safer.
Police officers are slain by gang members. And generations
of youth are being lost to gang recruiters.
Together, we must address this problem. We must
stop their recruiting and arrest their leaders.
Cracking down on gangs will help lower homicide
rates and make our communities safer. With your
on-the-street information and by sharing intelligence,
we can work together to cut the head off the dragon
– to use our joint resources to target gangs
and get them off the streets.
By working together with the Los Angeles Police
Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s
Department, we tackled gang problems in the largest
housing project in the country – Nickerson
Gardens. We are also tackling emerging gang issues
on the East Coast. For example, in Virginia, cooperative
efforts between the FBI and local law enforcement
have led to successful federal prosecutions of more
than 70 gang members. Recently, we used RICO statutes
there to help us bring down two dangerous Vietnamese
We are now completing a National Gang Threat Assessment
in cooperation with other federal, state, and local
partners. This assessment will help us target our
anti-gang efforts where they are most needed. With
funding that Congress has provided and with your
help, we are compiling a gang database. It will
provide information and links that can assist our
mutual investigative efforts.
What is more, we are working with international
partners to address this problem. Just last month,
police in El Salvador met with law enforcement officials
in Southern California to discuss new ways to share
information on multinational gangs. El Salvador’s
police chief has directed his intelligence officers
to provide us with quick access to his agency’s
We are even cooperating better on far continents.
FBI Agents are working with our law enforcement
partners from Russia to Romania to track down hackers
and other cyber criminals. We are joining forces
with the Hungarian National Police to tackle organized
criminal syndicates. We are gathering intelligence
in Iraq and Afghanistan. And we are hunting down
terrorists with our counterparts in countries like
Pakistan, Morocco, and Indonesia.
As threats continue to evolve, we must evolve with
them. In an age where attacks can come from anywhere
in the world – from the streets of Detroit
to the shores of Yemen – the FBI must be able
to call upon a full range of capabilities. We must
combine our traditional law enforcement tools with
new intelligence tools to prevent attacks. We must
combine old-fashioned detective work with state-of-the-art
technology. And, most importantly, we must work
together both locally and globally.
Together, we are making progress. Terrorists cannot
hide forever in mountain ranges and deserts. They
have to interact with society, particularly if they
intend to strike inside the United States. They
will go shopping and set up bank accounts. They
will rent cars. They will buy equipment, make mobile
phone calls, set up meetings, and try to cross borders.
Each of these activities is an opportunity for us,
together, to identify them and stop them from doing
By sharing information, improving our capabilities,
and working together, we can and we will succeed.
And with that, I will close with the words from
a speech President Kennedy was supposed to deliver
at the Trade Mart in Dallas, Texas, on November
22, 1963. I quote, “We in this country, in
this generation, are – by destiny rather than
choice – the watchmen on the walls of world
freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy
of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise
our strength with wisdom and restraint.”
That speech was never delivered. On that day, together,
Dallas police officers and FBI special agents answered
the call of a grieving nation and undertook the
investigation into the killing of President Kennedy.
Nearly 41 years later, together, we are serving
as the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. And
together, we will continue protecting our country
and our citizens. Thank you again for your cooperation,
your support, and your leadership. God bless you