Think about how much there is to protect: our nation’s bright young minds and future leaders, all the capabilities and intellectual assets of our higher institutions of learning, the innovative (and often proprietary) research that takes place on campus and helps fuel the economy, the high-profile speakers and huge sporting venues.
Then factor in the realities of a post-9/11 world.
This is why the FBI takes campus public safety more seriously than ever. Our role is a supporting one—we work closely with the approximately 30,000 campus public safety officers who work diligently to protect the 4,200 colleges and universities across the country. In addition to this partnership with the college and university law enforcement community, we also partner with the leaders of these institutions.
A few examples of the partnerships we’ve put in place in recent years:
…Our Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) Campus Liaison Initiative designates an FBI agent or task force officer from every field office to coordinate with campus public safety officers and other school personnel—with the overriding goal of addressing terror threats and preventing attacks. Our JTTF agents reach out regularly to campus police and school administrators—sharing threat information, offering presentations, providing training and lists of threat indicators, etc. About 20 campus public safety officers are full-fledged JTTF members—we’re working to increase that number.
…Our Academic Alliance Program was set up to tackle national security challenges like global adversaries trying to steal U.S. information or technologies, such as proprietary information and trade secrets. Included in that program are:
Our National Security Higher Education Advisory Board (NSHEAB)] is comprised of 20 university and college presidents and chancellors, many from schools with large research labs. The board meets several times a year with us in Washington D.C., often in concert with other federal agencies, to talk about national security implications facing their research facilities.
On a broader scale, our College and University Security Effort, or CAUSE, joins agents in charge of our 56 field offices with heads of local institutions to discuss similar issues brought up at the NSHEAB meetings. Each field office also has a strategic partnership coordinator who—much like the terrorism campus liaison agent—maintains relationships with schools that are members of our InfraGard program.
…Our Office of Law Enforcement Coordination (OLEC) was created following 9/11 to build further on our relationships with law enforcement partners at all levels, including campus officers. OLEC has a management program assistant on campus public safety who works directly with national groups like the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and the University and College Police Section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. OLEC helps get local campus law enforcement more of what they need (resources, training, information, etc.) so they can continue to address crimes and national security threats.
Through it all, our job is to help universities thrive and stay safe…while protecting the security of our country overall. Our understanding of the national and international threat picture helps support the local work of campus public safety…and vice versa. It’s a partnership that makes sense in our post-9/11 world.