Friday, October 31, 2014

America’s Head-On Collision: A Crisis of Violence and Scandals

Recently, I delivered a keynote titled “America’s Head-On Collision: A Crisis of Violence and Scandals” to an audience of over 200 law enforcement and community leaders.

The event was the Annual Community Traffic Safety Awards Program hosted by AAA North Jersey at the Brownstone in Paterson, N.J., on Oct. 22.

A stark metaphor of a head-on collision was used in my keynote to highlight a crisis taking place in America. This involves senseless violence and reprehensible scandals becoming all too common.

America’s violence is alarming for a civilized nation and includes school, campus, domestic, workplace, and terrorism. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, and 9/11 immediately paint the picture.

Our scandals are appalling and within every segment of society. Government, educational, corporate, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based leaders continually dishonor their country. A once-admired company like Enron is a reminder of how things dramatically change when character is lacking.

America is called to be the land of freedom, democracy, and security. Unfortunately, our head-on collision of violence and scandals may intensify before our culture improves.

A Culture of Violence
During my presentation, I asked the audience to observe past and upcoming events with the mindset of this head-on collision.

Unfortunately, within days of my presentation, additional incidents dramatized America’s violence including:

•A shooting at a high school in Marysville, Wash., on Oct. 24. The tragedy left three students dead—including the 15-year-old student shooter—with others wounded and many lives within the community forever changed.
•An Oct. 24. rampage in California with the gunman shooting four people—three of them police officers, with two of them killed. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial the number of nationwide fatalities year-to-date has shown a dramatic 20 percent increase since the same time last year. Firearm fatalities have now increased 64 percent compared to last year.
•On Oct. 23 an act of terror was committed against a group of NYPD officers by a hatchet-wielding, self-radicalized extremist. Two of the officers were wounded and one placed in critical condition with a strike to his head. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton stated, “I am very confident this was a terrorist act, certainly.”

A Culture of Scandals
The rampant corruption and scandals within every segment of American life includes these recent events:

•Former Nassau County legislators Patrick Williams and Roger Corbin along with former head of the North Hempstead Community Development Agency, Neville Mulings, were all sentenced to jail time for their roles in an $80 million redevelopment project a decade ago.
•The conviction on Tuesday, Aug. 26, of Timothy DeFoggi, the former acting cybersecurity director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeFoggi was found guilty of counts including engaging in child exploitation and conspiracy to advertise and distribute child pornography. Prosecutors stated DeFoggi was part of a child pornography website where he “suggested meeting one member in person to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children.”
•A scandal at the prestigious University of North Carolina that for 18 years allowed thousands of student athletes to take fake “paper classes” to keep them eligible for sports. At least 3,100 students were involved with the scandal that is clearly the most egregious in the history of the NCAA, which involved counselors, coaches, administrators, and faculty.

This “America’s Head-On Collision: A Crisis of Violence and Scandals” keynote was an abbreviated version of presentations that I have conducted for 15 years. Attendees throughout the nation have included educators, law enforcement, community leaders, and students.

Aside from expressing appreciation for the audience, I encouraged them to transform America into a land of security and character. Character, vigilance, and collaboration are the qualities critical for this transformation and required by all who truly love our country and dedicated to reawakening the nation.

As originally published in Vincent's weekly column for the Epoch Times titled "Reawakening the Nation" on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.

1. Vincent J. Bove delivering his "America's Head-On Collision..." keynote to over 200 law enforcement and community leaders on Oct. 22, 2014 in Paterson, NJ. (Chris Marksbury)
2. Students and family members embrace after leaving Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the aftermath of a shooting on the high school's campus in Marysville, Wash., on Oct. 24, 2014. (David Ryder/Getty Images)
3. New York Police Department (NYPD) officers man a checkpoint at the entrance of a subway station in Queens, New York, on Oct. 24, 2014, one day after a man charged at four New York police officers with a metal hatchet, hitting two of them. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
4. Officials from the Passaic Police Department in New Jersey with the author Vincent J. Bove. At the immediate right of Bove is Officer Marco Clavijo, who was a student at Saint Anthony of Padua in Passaic while Bove was the school principal in 1986.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

In Remembrance: Honoring Police End-of-Watch Fatalities

These are challenging times for police officers throughout America.

As they dedicate themselves to protect and serve communities in their honorable profession, the fact is they are in the trenches as countercultural to our culture of violence.

Police officers are called to be ethical protectors, safeguarding law-abiding citizens from those who have contempt for the law. Unfortunately, there are many innocent people who are vulnerable and need law enforcement to protect them from rampant criminal activities.

Aside from crime, citizens are also often endangered by natural and man-made dangers as well. There are countless possibilities including storms, fires, explosions, floods, and accidents.

America’s police officers are modern day sentinels, dedicated to prevent, prepare, respond, and assist with recovery through countless incidents and tragedies.

Our nation must pause and understand the criticality of police officers in society. The police profession is honorable and those who polish their shields through ethical acts of bravery, character, and leadership are worthy of admiration.

Officers who have offered the ultimate through an end-of-watch fatality are particularly deserving of recognition and appreciation.

Alarming Officer Fatality Increase
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund the number of nationwide fatalities year-to-date has increased 15 percent as of Oct. 21, 2014 versus Oct. 21, 2013.

Ninety-two police officers have already lost their lives while on duty this year, compared to 80 officers at the same time last year.

Firearm-related fatalities have increased by an alarming 56 percent this year with 39 deaths compared to 25 deaths at this time last year.

California, Texas, and New York have the highest number of officer deaths with 10, 8, and 6 respectively in 2014.

Recently Fallen
Police Officer Eddie Johnson Jr. of the Alton, Mo., Police Department: killed in a single-vehicle crash while on duty on Oct. 20. Officer Johnson is the first law enforcement fatality for Missouri in 2014.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Naylor of the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, Texas: shot and killed on Oct. 9 while serving a warrant.

Police Officer Jordan Corder of the Covina, Calif., Police Department: killed on Sept. 30 in a motorcycle crash while pursuing a subject.

Trooper David Kedra of the Pennsylvania State Police: accidentally shot and killed on Sept. 30 while participating in a training exercise.

Police Officer Michael Williams of the NYPD: killed on Sept. 21 in an automobile crash while on duty.

Senior Deputy Jessica Holles of the Travis County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office: killed on Sept. 19 when her patrol car was swept away by floodwaters.

Officer Reinaldo Arocha, Jr. of the Newark, N.J., Police Department: suffered a heart attack and died on duty on Sept. 16.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Norris of the Monroe County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office: died after being shot while responding to a suicidal man on Sept. 14.

Border Patrol Agent Tyler Robledo of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection: killed on Sept. 12 in an automobile accident.

Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson of the Pennsylvania State Police: shot and killed in an ambush while at the police barracks on Sept. 12.

Final Reflections
Today, as in generations past, courageous police officers are making great sacrifices to serve and protect America’s communities. It is important for those who benefit from the valor of law enforcement personnel to always remember and appreciate their dedication to our nation.

The sacrifices of police officers are intimately shared by their loved ones and especially their children. It is critical to be mindful of their challenges and appreciate police officers and their families in every way possible.

The legacy of America demands honor for those who serve and protect our communities through moral leadership, persevering vigilance, and generous collaboration.

Police officers are critical to safeguarding America and their ethics, character, and leadership is the heart of reawakening the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled Reawakening the Nation-Oct. 24, 2014 in the Epoch Times.

1. Police Officer Jordan Corder of the Covina, Calif., Police Department (Courtesy Covina Police Department)
2. Police Officer Michael Williams of the NYPD (Courtesy NYPD)
3. Senior Deputy Jessica Holles of the Travis County Sheriff's Office (Courtesy Travis County Sheriff's Office)
4. Trooper David Kedra of the Pennsylvania State Police (Courtesy Pennsylvania State Police)
5. Deputy Sheriff Michael Norris of the Monroe County, Ga., Sheriff's Office (Courtesy Monroe County Sheriff's Office)
6. Deputy Sheriff Michael Naylor of the Midland County, Texas, Sheriff's Office (Courtesy Midland County Sheriff's Office)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AAA North Jersey Annual Community Traffic Awards Keynote

On Wednesday, October 22, 2014, I was privileged to deliver the keynote for the AAA North Jersey Annual Community Traffic Safety Awards Program at the Brownstone in Paterson, New Jersey.

Over 200 law enforcement officials and community leaders attended the event that recognized agencies dedicated to initiatives that save lives through traffic safety.

As the keynote speaker I used a metaphor to dramatize America's Head-On Collision-a crisis of character colliding with a culture of violence.

The police officers were commended for their dedication to saving lives by protecting and serving communities from throughout Northern New Jersey. I also encouraged them to remain vigilant and to protect, appreciate and build each other up through acts of leadership and collaboration.

A highlight of my day was when Police Officer Marco Clavijo approached me after my keynote and introduced himself as one of my students from my year as principal in a Passaic, New Jersey school in 1986. We had some great memories together and I had the pleasure of being introduced to his Passaic Police Department colleagues through his kindness.

Steve Rajczyk of AAA is deserving of a special commendation for his leadership with coordinating such an extraordinary event.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Sayreville's High School Scandal: America's Wake-Up Call

America is facing a crisis of character through all facets of society.

Our character crisis is continually spotlighted with government, corporate, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based scandals.

In government, titans of influence including the former vice president’s chief of staff, governors, congressmen, and officials from every level of public service have violated positions of trust. Instead, many are now convicted felons who have been imprisoned.

The corporate world has proven that greed, self-aggrandizement, and contempt continually transform prestige to handcuffs and shackles.

Professional football players, major league baseball players, and Olympians have betrayed the public’s admiration by cheating, crimes, and misconduct.

The star-studded red carpets of Hollywood headline idolized careers continually destroyed by addictions.

A massive and pervasive character crisis has even tainted the hallowed halls of faith-based communities with sins, crimes, and cover-ups that make all of nature blush.

Sayreville’s Character Crisis
The youth of America are not immune to our crisis of character.

At Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey, a scandal has recently paralyzed the community and wreaked havoc on many lives. The sobering realities of this scandal include:

•Arrests of seven high school football players on aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy, criminal restraint, and hazing charges. There is a strong possibility these teens will be tried as adults and imprisonment is a possibility
•The seven students have been suspended from school and college athletic scholarships are being lost
•Brokenness in the lives of victims and in the entire community. Additional concerns include on-going harassment, long-term therapy, family conflicts, and ostracizing the victims and their families—who should be treated as heroes for their moral courage—by the community and fellow students
•Failure of the entire community concerning character development and the lack of supervisory and leadership skills by the football team coaching staff
•The cancellation of the team’s football season that also has negative ramifications on innocent players, cheerleaders, students, and the entire Sayreville community. The suspension may also be extended beyond the current season
•The embarrassing reinforcement to American education that bullying, hazing, and a lack of values is a reality. Tragically, character education often takes a back row to athletic accomplishments at schools and campuses nationwide.
•Extreme challenges for normalcy and healing at the school due to a barrage of national media coverage

Be a Person of Character
Although I have been privileged to address many assemblies. My signature presentation for students, “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” carries the paramount message.

During this presentation, I ask students to take a journey with me. A candid picture of societal challenges is painted:

•Our Character Crisis
•Negative Behavior and Consequences
•Broken Families
•The Gang Mentality
•America’s “Get High” Society

We then move from challenges to the power of character accentuating examples of positive behavior of America’s youth to inspire these qualities:

•Greatness through Sacrifice
•Living a Life of Ethical Dignity
•Kindness, Respect, Civility, Compassion
•Community Building
•Bringing Out the Best in Others
•Helping Others Do What Is Right

Developing Citizens of Character
America’s character crisis did not happen overnight. It will take generations to transform our nation and we must begin now with full-force dedication through our schools.

Our youth must light the torch of character and keep the flame burning bright. Their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity will build a better world. The crisis of character may have its day. But in due time, the character of our youth will lift the nation.
The youth of our nation are a priceless treasure and deserve encouragement. Their families, communities, and nation entrust them with America’s future. They deserve good example and guidance to ignite a renewal of character within America.

Eyes on America’s Future
At times it can seem that the future is bleak when bombarded by one crisis after another. But America’s future is bright because of the potential of our youth. The positive influence of families and community must ignite the power of character within each of them and inspire their mission to reawakening the nation.

As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

1. Vincent addressing FBI agents and supervisors as keynote speaker for the Newark Division Management retreat on Sept. 17, 2014. Vincent encouraged the FBI to enhance character education initiatives for schools through their community outreach. (Courtesy FBI)
2. Middle school students at Washington School in Union City, N.J., listen to Vincent’s signature presentation “Be a Person of Character: Change the World” on Feb. 27, 2008. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. Vincent J. Bove at the United States Military Academy, West Point, with attendees of his “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” keynote on April 3, 2009. All attendees received copies of his latest book titled “Listen To Their Cries” through the generosity of Fairleigh Dickinson University. (Vincent Bove Publishing)
4. Over 800 students and family members prior at Vincent Bove's keynote titled: “Be a Person of Character: Change the World,” on March 8, 2014. The event was held by Monmouth University to recognize their National Honor Society inductees. All inductees received copies of “Listen To Their Cries” through the generosity of the university. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Transforming the NYPD: Terminating Toxic Police Officers

There are priceless lessons the NYPD—and every police department—can learn from the ideals of the United States Military Academy, commonly referred to as West Point.

Essentially, the mission of West Point is to educate, train, and inspire leaders of character, ethics, and moral courage.

These principles are pivotal to the values of duty, honor, and country, which are the heart of a United States Army officer.

These ideals have inspired my work at numerous West Point initiatives, including the National Conference on Ethics in America.

More recently, I have been privileged to address law enforcement officials along with Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., Superintendent of West Point.

One event was the inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership. The event at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey was filled to capacity with law enforcement officials.

Another event was an FBI leadership retreat that included representatives from every office of the Newark Field Office.

During our presentations, character, ethics, leadership, and moral courage were highlighted by both Gen. Caslen and me as essential to the development of military and police officers.

NYPD: Developing Leaders of Character
High ethical standards are critical to all who seek to protect and serve society, both in military and police professions.

For instance, the West Point Honor Code states, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Similarly an NYPD officer must also adhere to ethical principles including respect, honesty, diversity, and dedication to duty.

These principles are particularly critical to the NYPD based on contemporary issues articulated by Commissioner William J. Bratton during a recent retreat of over 800 top department executives.

In his customary transparent honesty, Bratton addressed the small percentage of NYPD officers who are “poisoning the well” and needed to be weeded out.

“My intention going forward is to ensure that we will aggressively seek to get those out of the department who should not be there—the brutal, the corrupt, the racist, the incompetent …

“They are poisoning the well, and the trust that we deserve and the trust that we need is eroded by some of their actions” Bratton said.

Disturbing Unethical NYPD Videos
The heart of sound law enforcement philosophy is based on the rock-solid Nine Principles of Policing by Sir Robert Peel.

These principles are summarized by the saying “the police and the people are one” and the thought that effective policing mandates “pubic approval of police existence, actions and behavior.”

Contravening ethical behavior and detrimental to police–people collaboration was a video montage shared at the retreat that substantiated Bratton’s concerns. The video titled “What would you do?” clearly depicted unethical NYPD behavior, including the following:
•An officer kicking a vendor while the man was on the ground after other officers had already subdued and cuffed him
•An officer demonstrating disturbing physical aggression against a five-month-pregnant woman in Brooklyn
•Two Bronx cops—subsequently convicted—punching and kicking a 17-year-old in an alley
•A rookie cop body-slamming an innocent passing bicyclist at a Times Square rally in 2008

West Point–NYPD Parallels
There is no place for aspiring U.S. Army officers who dishonor the ethics of the West Point Honor Code. The honorable service in America’s military demands leaders of character, ethics, and moral courage.

Policing is also an honorable, admirable, and ethical profession. There is no place for any officer—poignantly articulated by Bratton—who is “so callous, so brutal, so corrupt that they feel comfortable engaging in those acts of brutality and acts of corruption without fear.”

Character, ethics, leadership, and moral courage must be the heart of all at West Point and the NYPD. These principles are essential for protecting the nation, enhancing police-public collaboration, and ultimately reawakening the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" for the Epoch Times on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014.

1. NYPD at Times Square on Sept. 21, 2014 (Vincent J. Bove)
2. Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr. delivering the keynote at The Inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership. The event, held at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey on May 12, 2014 was filled to capacity with 250 law enforcement professionals. (Vincent J. Bove)
3. NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton (Allen Xie / Epoch Times)
4. NYPD Cruiser at 59th Street in NYC on Sept. 21, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
5. Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen, Jr. and the author Vincent J. Bove at The Inaugural New Jersey Conference: Character, Ethics, Leadership on May 12, 2014. Caslen and Bove were speakers at the event hosted by The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. (Photo Courtesy Vincent J. Bove Publishing)

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Friday, October 03, 2014

Active Shooter Incidents Increasing: FBI Study Demands Vigilance

According to a newly released FBI study, mass shootings are occurring more frequently in recent years—nearly one incident every month during 2000–2013.

The study highlights 160 incidents, with 486 fatalities and 557 wounded, during this timespan.

These shootings are called “active shooter incidents,” which are described as individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas.

Major Active Shooter Findings
“A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000–2013″ on the FBI website includes the following incidents:
• Virginia Tech
• Sandy Hook Elementary School
• U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
• Fort Hood
• Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater
• Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
• Washington Navy Yard

Some key findings include:
• Incidents increasing from 6.4 annually from the first years of the study to 16.4.
• Incidents resulted in 1,043 casualties (486 killed, 557 wounded) excluding the shooters.
• All but 6 of the 160 incidents involved male shooters and only two had more than one shooter.
• More than half of the incidents—90 shootings—ended on the shooter’s initiative (that is, suicide or fleeing).
• Nine police officers were killed and 28 were wounded in 21 of the 45 incidents where they engaged the shooter to neutralize the threat.
• The largest percentage of incidents took place in a commercial environment (73 incidents) followed by educational settings (39 incidents).

Virginia Tech Tragedy
Since I served families of Virginia Tech victims as a spokesman, I would like to honor the April 16, 2007, victims with insights in hopes that additional incidents can be prevented.

Here is an assessment from an early-warning and crisis-management perspective:

Pre-Crisis Failures
• Failure to respond to reported warning signs of a very troubled student that could have prevented the tragedy.
• Lack of a threat assessment team at Virginia Tech.
• No “heightened alert” during the anniversary week of the Columbine tragedy.
• Insufficient security measures, crisis plans, protocols, and procedures.
• Inadequate preparedness practice and drills.

Crisis Failures
• The Virginia Tech police chief and leadership team were not immediately notified of the first killings—there were critical communication delays.
• Failure to clearly notify the campus community that killings had taken place once Virginia Tech’s president was notified.
• Failure to lockdown the campus with a killer at large after the first incident. This could have prevented numerous other killings and injuries.

Post-Crisis Failures
• Continual denials by Virginia Tech President Steger of his and the leadership team’s failures.
• Immediate movement into a fundraising mode while ignoring the needs of victims and families.
• Setting up a website to defend the Virginia Tech president within three days while the victim support website took four months.

Failure of Leadership
In my opinion, it is inconceivable that two students were killed on a college campus during the week of the anniversary date of Columbine, and that—with a killer at large— there was no immediate notification to the community, nor was there a lockdown.

It is also inexcusable that proper decisions were not made to prevent the 30 killings and multiple injuries that occurred over two hours later.

The Virginia Tech president and policy group failed to protect their community. The fact was that two students had been killed and the killer was at large.

The U.S. Department of Education insights in its publication “Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities” were not heeded, including the following: “Evacuate or lock down the school as appropriate. This step is crucial and should be one of the first decisions made, regardless of the order in which initial decisions are implemented.”

Call for Vigilance
In an age of increased active shooter incidents—compounded by the possibility of a Mumbai-style terrorist incident—all of us in both law enforcement and private sectors must enhance vigilance to safeguard America and reawaken the nation.

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawaken the Nation" for the Epoch Times on Friday, Oct. 3, 2014.

1. A carved-wood ‘VT’ rests on the grave of Virginia Tech University student Jarrett Lane in Narrows, Va., on May 13, 2007. Lane, a 22-year-old senior, was killed along with 26 other students and 5 University staff members during a shooting rampage the previous month. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
2. “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000–2013” released by the FBI on Sept. 16, 2014. (Courtesy FBI)
3. Vincent J. Bove speaking on behalf of the families of the Virginia Tech victims at a meeting with the Virginia governor on June 23, 2007.
4. Cover of the Vincent J. Bove October, 2007 report titled "Crisis of Leadership: A Response to the Virginia Tech Panel Report"
5. FBI bomb technician’s vehicle. (Courtesy FBI)

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Friday, September 26, 2014

The FBI: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

As the United States of America—with allies against militant extremists—strikes targets in Iraq and Syria, all in America must remain vigilant here in our homeland.

Vigilance is critical to protecting America as the current state of affairs includes extremists calling for attacks against civilians and soft targets. Security concerns are intensified and all who love America, freedom, democracy, and liberty must collaborate to safeguard the nation.

Citizens and law enforcement all must have our eyes wide open to potential dangers that threaten innocent people and our way of life. We must never take for granted the privileges of a dinner out, a trip to visit loved ones, or a day with coworkers—life can change in a heartbeat. An abundance of caution is the order of the day—suspicious activities must immediately be reported to authorities. We must expect the unexpected and remain vigilant.

Apathy, indifference, or negligence with respect to current events is not acceptable. Acts of terror are preventable. Innocent lives, as well as the morale of America are at stake. There is no room for failure, for even one act of terror can be catastrophic and every life is sacred. The world has changed and all of us must have a terrorism awareness and prevention mindset.

As the darkness of evil intentions unfolds, America must remain vigilant, collaborative, and courageous.

The FBI: Protecting America
The top priority of the FBI is protecting America from terrorist attacks. This mission is only possible through collaboration with law enforcement partners nationally and worldwide.

Extremist networks, lone wolfs, and terrorist sympathizers can be neutralized and dismantled through the investigative and intelligence resources of the FBI. But this is only possible with public-private collaboration.

As documented on the FBI website, the scope of FBI operations and collaborative efforts includes:
•Joint Terrorism Task Forces
•National Counterterrorism Center
•Public Internet Tip Line
•Terrorist Explosives Device Analytical Center
•Terrorist Screening Center
•Weapons of Mass Destruction
•Strategic Command Center
•Terrorist Financing Operations Section
•Terrorism Fly Team

FBI Model: Leadership Retreat
In my travels throughout America since 1999, I have highlighted leadership, vigilance, and collaboration as central to my mission of character development, violence prevention, and crisis planning.

These principles have been shared at hundreds of presentations and with many published works and FBI initiatives.

But in my opinion, the seriousness of what these principles signify has never been so important as at this very moment in America’s history.

On Sept. 17, I was privileged to conduct a keynote for the FBI Newark Division Management Retreat. This retreat was made possible through the leadership of the division’s Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford.

Aside from the remarkable motivational and educational aspects of the event, this retreat is a model not only for other FBI divisions but also for all law enforcement agencies as it builds leadership, morale, and partnerships.

During my keynote speech, “The FBI: Honor, Leadership, America,” I used the metaphor of a catastrophic head-on collision train wreck to punctuate the nation’s crisis of leadership and culture of violence. As highlighted with a graphic slide presentation, this violence includes not only domestic, school, and workplace violence, but also acts of terror as demonstrated by the 9/11 and Boston Marathon attacks.

My keynote followed a patriotic leadership presentation by Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., superintendent of West Point. Caslen highlighted that the “Duty, Honor, Country” motto of the United States Military Academy was applicable to all because throughout the nation, even in the military, there is a crisis of leadership. I complemented Caslen’s thoughts by encouraging the FBI to live the principles of “Honor, Leadership, America.”

The FBI and all dedicated to protecting America must be appreciated and their efforts supported. Each of us must work collaboratively and continually enhance our own level of vigilance to protect our homeland and reawaken the nation.

Dear Vincent, It is with the warmest regards that I express my thanks for your support of the Newark Division's Management Conference. Your participation in the Management Conference on September 17, 2014 was a true pleasure. You provided insights to help Newark Division supervisors to develop and challenge themselves as employees and as leaders within the FBI. Your observations were particularly insightful due to your highly decorated career and your intimate knowledge of our staff.
Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge

Note Well
As originally published in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawaken the Nation" for the Epoch Times on Friday, Sept. 26, 2014.

1. FBI SWAT team member (Courtesy FBI)
2. FBI Evidence Response Team Vehicle (Courtesy FBI)
3. FBI weapons training (Courtesy FBI)
4. Vincent J. Bove receiving award from Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford of the Newark Division on Sept. 17, 2014. Bove was the keynote speaker at the division’s leadership retreat. (Photo Courtesy FBI)
5. Vincent J. Bove receiving the FBI Community Leadership Award for his violence prevention initiatives on Oct. 30, 2007. Afterwards, Bove addressed over 200 FBI and law enforcement officials. Bove is accompanied by local, county, and federal law enforcement officials. (Courtesy Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, September 19, 2014

NYPD Culture Shift: Enhancing Community Partnerships

The culture is about to change for the NYPD, but first we must take time to commend acts of officer heroism.

The following example headlines—representing a few incidents among countless ones that never receive press coverage—give perspective and remind us of the courage, dedication, and professionalism of ethical protectors who wear the NYPD badge:

• Sept. 14—Video shows NYPD rescue of stranded jet skier from a small island off Staten Island’s east shore
• Sept. 12—NYPD protects teen from committing suicide off Brooklyn Bridge
• Sept. 7—NYPD Harbor Unit rescues teen stranded on rocks off Coney Island
• Sept. 7—Officers witness Brooklyn shooting, arrest suspect
• Sept. 5—NYPD helicopter rescues man who had heart attack
• Aug. 26—NYPD officer rescues Bronx baby girl with CPR
• Aug. 25—2 NYPD officers come to rescue of baby not breathing in Brooklyn
• Jul. 30—NYPD detective wounded in West Village shootout with accused child molester

Aside from these heroics, the inherent challenges to NYPD officers also deserve appreciation. These headlines remind us of the dangers our police officers face each day:

• Sept. 11—NYPD cop in serious condition after responding to fire
• Sept. 11—NYPD, Port Authority honor members lost in 9/11 attacks
• Sept. 3—NYPD sergeant mourned after dying from 9/11-related cancer
• Aug. 31—NYPD officer grazed by bullet in shooting
• Aug. 30—3 NYPD officers hurt by thrown objects from rooftop
• Aug. 3—Assaults on the NYPD are on the rise
• Apr. 9—NYPD officer dies after Coney Island arson
• Jul. 28—2 U.S. marshals, NYPD detective shot in West Village

NYPD Commissioner’s Vision
On Sept. 8, NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton appeared before New York City Council. Bratton, in his completely transparent trademark style, acknowledged the need for a fundamental transformation with the NYPD.

The commissioner stated the NYPD is “committed to constitutional and respectful policing.” Bratton also emphasized that the NYPD must change from “an overarching focus on police activity, as measured in the number of stops, summonses, and arrests, to an emphasis on problem solving in the community.”

Bratton continued with plans to re-educate all 35,000 officers with negotiating skills, leadership techniques, Sir Robert Peel’s policing principles, diversity, crime prevention, and building respect with the community.

Bratton will begin with a pilot program that includes use-of-force training. This is a direct response to the Staten Island tragedy of an unarmed man selling loose cigarettes who died while being taken into custody. The man’s death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner.

An officer’s training in the academy at the beginning of one’s career must never stand alone. Effective training requires ongoing programs, testing, and evaluations throughout a career.

In my opinion, credible and effective training must also include expertise from numerous disciplines outside law enforcement, certifications, and accreditation of precincts and units based on stringent requirements.

NYPD: Rise to the Occasion
As an educator who has conducted ethics, leadership, and policing presentations for law enforcement nationwide, I commend Bratton for his dedication to transformational change of the world’s most renowned police department. The commissioner’s vision to change NYPD culture from an overshadowing, statistically driven department to an ethically oriented and community-focused one is praiseworthy. It is the right step at the perfect time in the right direction.

Dedication to this police-people collaboration deserves full-force dedication of all members of the NYPD and community.

The ethical dimension of law enforcement is critical and must be the heart of every police officer. The NYPD will be organizationally transformative with building trust in communities when ethical development, accountability, and transparency are the heart of training initiatives.

The results of the NYPD vision will be a high performance department that cultivates integrity, integrates public safety with citizen rights; enhances crime prevention, diversity, and mutual trust; and showcases the NYPD as a police-community model for reawakening the nation.

Reawakening the Nation
As printed in Vincent's weekly column titled "Reawakening the Nation" in the Epoch Times on Friday, Sept. 19, 2014.

1.NYPD at Penn Station on Aug. 20, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
2.NYPD at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 10, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
3.NYPD in Times Square on Aug. 23, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
4.NYPD on patrol in Central Park on Aug. 30, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)
5.NYPD at Lincoln Center on Aug. 30, 2014. (Vincent J. Bove)

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Friday, September 12, 2014

America’s Leadership Crisis: Reigniting Our Character

America must pause and honestly assess our leadership crisis.

Throughout every facet of society—corporate, government, sports, entertainment, and even faith-based communities—we see alarming stories of scandal and corruption.

America is privileged to have democracy, prosperity, and cherished freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

But, character must be the center of our privileges and freedoms. Character must be the heartbeat of the nation.

We must heed the words attributed to Thomas Jefferson, one of our Founding Fathers:

“Yes, we did produce a near perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction.”

“The decline and fall of the Roman Empire” has become an iconic phrase. Many attribute the fall to the decline of morals, values, and character.

America must learn from the demise of the Roman Empire and not allow history to repeat itself. Our nation must rise to heights of greatness with character as our foundation.

Recent Scandals
On Sept. 4, a jury returned guilty verdicts against former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and former first lady Maureen G. McDonnell.

Robert McDonnell was convicted of 11 of 13 counts and Maureen McDonnell was convicted of 9 of 13 counts. These included honest services wire fraud, obtaining property under color of official right, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

“Robert McDonnell and his wife turned public service into a money-making enterprise, abusing the commonwealth’s highest office to benefit a Virginia businessman in exchange for more than $170,000 in gifts and loans,” said assistant Attorney General Caldwell.

In the sports world, a time of reckoning scorched the NFL after release of two separate videotapes of Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice.

In the first video, Rice manhandles his fiancée by pulling her limp, unconscious body off an Atlantic City elevator.

In the second video, Rice viciously knocks her unconscious in the elevator with a full force punch to the head.

The scandal is not only related to Rice’s sickening and callous crime but it also demands accountability from the NFL commissioner and a prosecutor.

These are only two recent examples of the crisis of character taking place throughout the nation.

The sports scandal follows years of NFL player arrests. These include domestic violence, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, DWI, disorderly conduct, unlawful possession of a firearm, burglary, drug possession, and murder. By now one would think that “zero tolerance” is more than a catch phrase.

Public corruption has been a serious problem and a fundamental threat to America’s security and way of life. It includes bribery, witness tampering, illegal kickbacks, extortion, fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and election crimes.

Abraham Lincoln: Model of Character
America has been temporarily derailed from the character we are destined for.

It has taken generations for us to get to this point and it will take time to get back on track.

This is why character education must be paramount in our schools. The heart of the nation must be resuscitated by character. We must give hope to our future through our youth.

Character must be reignited in America and we must do so in every facet of society, especially through our schools and colleges.

Abraham Lincoln is the pre-eminent representative of America’s character.

As one studies Lincoln’s actions, speeches, and writings, as well as personal accounts from those who knew him, inspiration is ignited for the nation.

Lincoln is the paragon of a great American, one who made the decision to serve with full realization that decisions must always be grounded without reservation with character and in moral responsibility.

Janay Rice (L) and her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speak to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md., on May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Blog is Vincent's column titled "Reawakening the Nation" from the Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 edition of the Epoch Times.

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