The Los Angeles Police Department's cutting-edge Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau (CTSOB), led by Deputy Chief Michael Downing, was recognized at Government Security News' November 14 awards dinner as the "Most Notable Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism or Crime Prevention Program," a category that included five other finalists from federal, state and local government agencies.
According to its entry, the LAPD's Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, with more than 800 sworn and civilian personnel, is one of the largest and most robust entities of its kind in the world, integrating highly trained, uniquely skilled and specially equipped personnel with the latest in innovative technologies, strategies, techniques and training. In fact, according to the entry, more than twice as many officers work in the CTSOB than are assigned to any police station in the city.
Deputy Chief Downing is the commanding officer of the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau, where he leads five operational divisions: Major Crimes, Emergency Services, Metropolitan, Air Support and Emergency Operations. Downing is an internationally recognized expert on counter terrorism who has testified before congressional subcommittees relating to intelligence, homeland security and information sharing, and has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security's advisory council, working on developing a national strategy for countering violent extremism.
Under Downing, the liaison section of CTSOB works daily to improve relationships in addition to fighting attacks, specifically by concentrating on regular outreach to Muslim communities. Meeting with leaders and representatives of the Muslim communities is a priority, along with monitoring extremist chat rooms, studying the tactics and weaponry of the Taliban and Iraqi insurgents, and traveling to Muslim countries to develop intelligence.
As part of a joint project between DHS and the U.S. Justice Department's office of justice programs, the LAPD also works with fusion centers to provide interdisciplinary expertise and situational awareness to inform decision making at all levels of government, with experts from each of the agencies looking for unusual trends, unexpected behaviors and other items that require further investigation -- all of which, according to the LAPD's entry, empowers the community by bridging gaps of misconceptions through honest communication and information sharing.
The Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau was also named a finalist in the GSN awards competition in the category of "Most Notable Cyber Security Program or Technology -- Government or Military."