Comprehensive Training in Identifying Suspicious Behavior

Every day, in the course of their duties, law enforcement officers observe suspicious behaviors and receive reports from concerned civilians, private security, and other government agencies. Previously, this information was generally stored at the local precinct and shared only within the agency as part of an incident reporting system. Now, through the standards, policies, and processes of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI), state, local, tribal, territorial (SLTT), and federal law enforcement are able to share timely, relevant information about suspicious activity while working to ensure that privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties are protected.


It is vitally important that law enforcement agencies conduct SAR training with all law enforcement personnel, including supervisors, and also document the number of those trained. Officers, chiefs, sheriffs, training officials, and other executives should integrate SAR training into initial and recurring training curricula.


Core components of the NSI include training on; privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections, community outreach, and a technology solution, all of which make up a comprehensive program that is rooted in behaviors, focusing on “the what,” not “the who.” This comprehensive program has been implemented in state and major urban area fusion centers across the country, as well as within the federal government, and outreach is being done to include the private sector and critical infrastructure/key resource owners and operators.

One of the largest undertakings of the NSI Program Management Office (NSI PMO) has been outreach to all 18,000 law enforcement agencies to help ensure that all front line officers are trained on how to identify and report those behaviors that are potentially indicative of terrorist or other criminal activity. To date, the NSI PMO has recorded almost 250,000 line officers who have received the NSI Line Officer Training. While this is an impressive accomplishment, the NSI PMO is still pushing to reach all 800,000 officers. This is even more important now that the NSI PMO has recently released a new suite of SAR awareness training for other key non-law enforcement constituencies, or “hometown security partners.” These partners include:

  • Fire and emergency medical service personnel
  • Call takers (e.g., 911 operators)
  • Emergency managers
  • Corrections, probation, and parole officers
  • Private sector security and those charged with protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure

The purpose of the training is not to empower public safety officials to act on behalf of law enforcement, but to have them understand the critical role they play in identifying and reporting suspicious activity to SLTT and federal law enforcement. It is more critical now that line officers receive this training, since the Hometown Security Partners training will likely increase the volume of suspicious activity reported to law enforcement, making it even more important for officers to recognize suspicious activity, and know what to do when it is reported to them by the public, private security, and others.

All of the training videos are currently offered online, at no cost, by visiting http://nsi.ncirc.gov/training_online.aspx. When officers use this link to take the training, it will automatically record the training statistics, making it unnecessary for any extra recording or reporting of training numbers to the NSI PMO. For more information on these training deliveries, or for any other information on the NSI, please contact nsiinformation@ncirc.gov or call 202.514.0617.


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