By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Law enforcement professionals from around North Texas gathered Thursday, July 28, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to hear from Morgan Moon, an investigative researcher from the ADL’s Center on Extremism. The presentation was part of the Law Enforcement Appreciation luncheon co-sponsored by the Federation’s Community Security Initiative and ADL Texoma.
Officers from the Dallas, Plano, Richardson, Frisco, Allen, Denton and Abilene police departments as well as representatives from the Dallas office of the FBI were among the attendees.
Moon discussed the “Changing Landscape of Extremism in America.”
Groups stemming from the alt-right movement are seeing rapid growth. Across the country, extremist groups are using methods of “flyering” and protesting with banners. One group in North Texas has a Day of Action on the third Sunday of each month. There have been about a dozen flyering incidents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, mostly in Colleyville, Garland and Richardson, according to Leah White, associate regional director of ADL’s Texoma Region.
There were two incidents of extreme quantities of the propaganda in February and May.
The ADL notes that these organizations monitor the press and have monetized mentions of their names in the press and social media. (The TJP is withholding organizations’ names in this article for this reason.) The groups have proliferated in recent years, with larger groups splintering into smaller factions.
“Extremists are less inhibited than they were in the past,” said White. This also makes them easier to track and catch, she says.
Bill Humphrey, the Federation’s director of Community Security, said that the luncheon is not only an opportunity to educate and tell law enforcement officers that the Jewish community cares about them, but that the networking piece — information and intelligence sharing — is crucial.
“None of us work in silos; we all have to share what we know,” said Humphrey. He said that the officers in attendance shared their thoughts and concerns of what was going on in their respective cities as it relates to the Jewish community and other vulnerable communities.
The event has become an annual occurrence three of the last four years; it began in 2019 and was skipped in 2020 because of the pandemic. This was the first time it was held at the Federation’s Jacob Feldman building.
Putting faces with names and seeing the Jewish community is beneficial. Having the luncheon at the Federation, which shares its Northaven campus with the Aaron Family JCC, allowed law enforcement to see the Jewish community in action.
“It gave them that exposure and, with camp going on, it allowed them to visualize the true need for security for all of our organizations,” Humphrey said.
Both CSI and ADL have upcoming programs. CSI will hold a “Stop The Bleed” training event at the Aaron Family JCC at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8. Registration will open soon for the event at jewishdallas.org.
Texas’ three ADL regional offices (Texoma, Austin and Southwest, which covers the Houston area) have formed the Texas Law Enforcement Consortium for Fighting Extremism. On Aug. 16, they will host their first event for the highest-ranking law enforcement officials around the state.
In today’s world, safety and security are top of mind for everyone, says Sherry Goldberg, CSI chair.
“ADL, CSI, Bill — our community security director — and law enforcement … We are all working together to ensure the coverage of the area police departments to watch and secure safety for all the organizations of the Jewish community. This ongoing dialogue ensures open communication between the Federation, local government and law enforcement,” Goldberg said.