Aug 12, 2009

National Forum on Criminal Justice & Public Safety

This week I am blogging from the National Forum on Criminal Justice & Public Safety in Bellevue, Washington. The Forum brings together a broad range of attendees from law enforcement, probation and parole, counterterrorism, private information management firms and non-profits. Forum partners include the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA), the IJIS Institute, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

Regional Priorities

On Monday, a morning session I attended focused on regional criminal justice priorities. Tom O’Reilly, Senior Policy Advisor for Information Sharing Initiatives at BJA, facilitated the northeast regional priorities session. There were a range of concerns raised in the session that NCJA will report, along with feedback from the other regions, to BJA leadership that will be used to shape policy priorities.

While many important concerns were raised, the northeast regional top priorities identified included: the need for enhanced data sharing/technology, increased resources for law enforcement/ problem-solving manpower, offender reentry, inner-city violent gangs, and illegal prescription drug markets.

Mortgage Fraud

In the afternoon I facilitated a panel on mortgage fraud. My panel included Ann Fulmer, former prosecutor and current Vice President of Business Relations at Interthinx a risk management firm specializing in loan risk mitigation for the financial services industry; Chief Brad Ramos of the Indio California Police Department; Glenn Theobald, Chief Legal Counsel for the Miami-Dade Police Dept. Glenn chairs the Mayor’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, an innovative strategy begun in Miami-Dade that is now a national model; and, Abed Hammoud, Lead Prosecutor in Wayne County, MI. Abed is a national expert on the prosecution of mortgage fraud.

BJA, under the leadership of Jim Birch III and Attorney General Eric Holder, is working to help jurisdictions address mortgage fraud. In January 2009, BJA brought together several jurisdictions for a two-day focus group to explore the impacts and collaborative responses to mortgage fraud and vacant and abandoned properties. To learn more click here.

Christopher Watler, Task Force Coordinator