Richland County Sheriff’s Department receives counterriot briefings in December

National security analyst briefs law enforcement leaders

By W. Thomas Smith Jr.

Kyle Shideler, director and senior analyst for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy, delivered a series of counterriot briefings to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department at the department’s Denny Terrace Training Facility. Dec. 19 and 20, 2023.

The primary focuses of the two days of presentations were threats posed by Antifa groups and affiliated organizations to metropolitan areas like those targeted nationwide in recent years.

The briefings began with the history and ideology of Anti-Fascist Action (Antifa) from its original founding in 1930s Weimar Germany to its ties to 1970s terrorist groups such as the Red Army Faction and the Weather Underground.

Also covered was the leadership and organization of Antifa and regional Antifa networks, with an emphasis on the group’s non-hierarchical leadership and tactics during rioting similar to that which was experienced in numerous U.S. cities like Columbia in late May 2020.

“The briefings were and are an important component of our department’s ongoing informational understanding of real, previous, and potential threats our deputies face when such groups attempt to turn lawful peaceful protests in violent unrest,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “Mr. Shideler’s presentation was very well done and helpful in terms of our necessary understanding of tactics and techniques employed by Antifa and their affiliates.”

Retired U.S. Marine Colonel Steve Vitali, chairman of the Advisory Group for National Defense Consultants (NDC), LLC, agrees.

“Excellent presentation,” said Vitali who attended the Day-2 briefing. “Shideler covered not only the threats posed by Antifa, but he touched on other domestic threats by other organizations here in the U.S., even possible international terrorist cells like those posed by Hezbollah particularly in the wake of the ongoing Israel-Hamas War.”

Briefing attendees included Sheriff Lott, his command staff, departmental supervisors – sergeants and above – and members of NDC.

Bruce Brutschy, past-pres. of the West Columbia Police Officers Foundation and a member of NDC’s Advisory Group, said “These briefings demonstrate Sheriff Lott’s proactive culture of ongoing professional education and substantive training for all of the men and women of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. When the riots struck Columbia in 2020, Sheriff Lott and his department – at the head of 15 other agencies – quickly quashed it. Sheriff Lott literally saved our city, and he knows what to do to keep us protected from all manner of threats going forward.”

NDC helped arrange and facilitate the briefings.

“Briefings such is this tie directly into the mission of National Defense Consultants in providing tools law enforcement needs to counter critical domestic threats to national security,” said Col. (Ret.) Bill Connor, U.S. Army Infantry, and a founding partner of NDC.

Connor attended the Day-1 briefing.

In addition to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, expert analysts with the Center for Security Policy regularly brief local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, nationwide.

Among those agencies that have been briefed by the Center are the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the FBI National Academy, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Baltimore Police Department, the Chicago Police Department, the Maryland State Police, the Wisconsin State Patrol, the Kansas Attorney General’s Office and the Kansas Capitol Police, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and numerous other agencies and law enforcement leaders around the country.

Shideler has briefed senior U.S. government officials; members of Congress; federal, state, and local law enforcement officers; and he has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, the Subcommittee on the Constitution, and the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense.

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