The presentation begins by exploring how violent extremists have exploited the pandemic, explaining that COVID-19 has provided new sources of opportunity, motivation, and capability for such groups. The presentation lays out “a tragedy in three acts” wherein the COVID-19 lockdown, and compounding crises such as the George Floyd Protests, the U.S. general election, and a second wave of COVID-19 have energized a myriad of extremists including: anti-government extremists, xenophobic and conspiracy theory Extremists, anarchist extremists, anti-law enforcement extremists, racist extremists and anti-fascist extremists.
The presentation also considers several complicating factors presented by COVID-19 which negatively impact first responder’s efforts including heightened call volumes, quarantines, and decreased productivity. Finally the presentation ties back to the overarching research project, providing an overview of the Monitor & Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19 on Public Safety initiative which has 5 key objectives:
- Build situational awareness of COVID-19 and its effects on first responders;
- Analyze and understand literature regarding past pandemics’ effects on first responders and other public safety organizations;
- Provide initial best-practice guidelines for public safety organizations in public health emergencies;
- Monitor current events, collect data, and rapidly synthesize information for use by first responders;
- Review practices and planning guidance and analyze data to identify and disseminate evidence informed practices to be shared by DHS across the homeland security enterprise.
For more information on related topics such as violent extremism or COVID-19 visit the HSDL Featured Topics on Domestic (U.S.) Terrorism and Pandemics and Epidemics or view other resources included in the COVID-19 Special Collection. Please note that an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.
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Author: Emily Christian