Law Enforcement Resources

Law enforcement professionals are more likely to encounter dangerous extremists than virtually any other segment of American society — and those confrontations are, tragically, sometimes fatal.


Law enforcement professionals are more likely to encounter dangerous extremists than virtually any other segment of American society — and those confrontations are, tragically, sometimes fatal. In fact, a 2010 University of Maryland study found that 49 of more than 400 people killed by radical-right extremists since 1990, or nearly 15%, have been law enforcement officers. With that in mind, the SPLC has undertaken a number of initiatives to equip officers with information and other resources that may help them carry out their duties with a minimum of danger to themselves.

Our free law enforcement trainings teach officers how to recognize hate groups, symbols and activity; the threat potential of specific groups; and how to respond to hate group activity. The Extremist Files contains updated biographical profiles of leading hate groups and extremist leaders, plus background on the various extremist ideologies. And our Hate Map helps officials locate extremist groups within their communities.

White Nationalists: What Justice Professionals Need to Know

White supremacy is a concept that most people thought was buried in the past. If its remnants ever continue to exist in the current times, one would think that they would most be probably underground. Its membership probably made up of violent skinheads or older and conservative individuals.

Download SPLC's webinar on the topic from Justice Clearinghouse. To view the full video, login or subscribe.

The Law Enforcement Response to Hate Events

Law enforcement officers may be tasked with upholding the free speech rights of hate group members – even hard-core racists – in the face of opposition from citizens in the community. This 13 minute roll call video outlines how to effectively respond when hate comes to town.

'Lone Wolf' Terrorists

Violent attacks by “lone wolf” extremists have claimed many lives in recent years – none more than the June 17, 2015, attack on the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., where nine African-American worshipers were shot to death by a white supremacist.

Research by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows that, of 63 domestic terrorism attacks, plots and other incidents of extremist violence between April 2009 and February 2015, three-quarters were the work of a single person acting without the support of a group. Nine out of 10 were carried out by no more than two people. Because of the few number of people involved, these kinds of plots are the most difficult for law enforcement to detect in advance. The 12-minute video below is designed to help law enforcement better understand this threat and how to combat it.

White Supremacist Prison Gangs

Members of white supremacist, or “Aryan,” prison gangs – which operate both inside and outside prison walls – pose a serious threat to correctional and law enforcement officers. On March 19, 2013, the head of Colorado’s prison system was assassinated at his home. The suspected gunman, who was later killed in a police shootout in Texas after wounding a deputy and crashing his car during a chase, was a member of such a gang. He was the second member of Crew 211 to die in a confrontation with law enforcement within a 13-month span.

Below is a 15-minute training video produced by the SPLC to help officers understand the structure of these gangs, their criminal enterprises and the signs, such as distinctive tattoos, that they can use to identify members’ affiliations. Other SPLC resources are also listed.

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes don’t just affect the victim — they can affect an entire community. This 15-minute roll call video outlines how to respond to, recognize and report hate crimes properly and promptly.

Racist Skinheads

Racist skinheads are among the most violent and volatile elements of the white supremacist movement and have been responsible for numerous murders and other acts of violence, often targeting minorities. Law enforcement officials face significant danger when confronting them. Below is a 12-minute training video produced by the SPLC to help officers learn more about the skinhead subculture and the warning signs that can help them deal with the threat. Other SPLC resources are also listed.

Skinhead Resources

Skinhead Profiles

If you are an officer who specializes in tracking racist skinheads, there is a national organization dedicated to that purpose. The Skinhead Intelligence Network – or SIN – is a unique network of officers that is meant to aid law enforcement in monitoring, tracking and prosecuting racist skinheads involved in criminal activity. Active-duty officers interested in more information about joining SIN can email their inquiries to


  • Terror From the Right: 75 Plots, Conspiracies and Racist Rampages Since Oklahoma City. This booklet outlines terrorism from the domestic radical right since 1995. Includes a roster of murdered law enforcement officials.
  • Skinheads in America: Racists on the Rampage (PDF). This resource outlines the history of the racist skinhead movement in America. Includes a timeline, a glossary of skinhead terms, profiles of several leaders, and a section detailing racist symbols and tattoos.
  • The Second Wave: Return of the Militias. This 2009 white paper detailing the return of the antigovernment "Patriot" militias that produced so much criminal violence during their first iteration in the 1990s.


The articles summarized below are selected from the SPLC's quarterly Intelligence Report magazine and may be of special interest to law enforcement officials.

  • "Devil's Den: Inside the Aryan Nations," 2008. A review of a book by confidential informant Dave Hall and his handler, FBI agent Tim Burkey, that details their work against the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations.
  • "Breaking the Skins," 2006. Details the work of Mesa, Ariz., Detective Matt Browning, who infiltrated murderous racist skinhead groups.
  • "Going Undercover," 2006. In an interview, former FBI agent Mike German discusses working undercover against racist skinhead groups and antigovernment militias.
  • "End of Watch," 2005. Details the stories of 15 law enforcement officials murdered by radical-right extremists. Also includes a slide show of the slain officers.
  • "The Abbeville Horror," 2004. Tells the story of two law enforcement officials murdered by members of the Bixby family, zealots of the antigovernment "Patriot" movement, in Abbeville, S.C.
  • "At Death's Door," 2003. An interview with David Koenig, a former Dayton, Ohio, police officer who was shot nearly to death in a 1979 encounter with the late Harold (Ray) Redfeairn, one of the most notorious figures of the radical racist right.
  • "On the Streets," 2003. A profile of Sgt. Brett Parson of Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police, who headed one of the country's most effective liaison units to sexual minorities in the community.

The 'Sovereign Citizens' Movement

Sovereign citizens, who believe that they do not have to obey most federal and state laws, have been a particular danger to law enforcement officials because of their belief that the government has no authority to require driver's licenses and vehicle registrations.In May 2010, two so-called sovereigns murdered two police officers and badly wounded two more in the latest such violence.

Understanding the Threat: Antigovernment Extremists

"Understanding the Threat: Antigovernment Extremists," 2016. A short film designed to be shown at roll call, focuses on the rising threat of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, especially in the wake of armed standoffs between militant radicals and law enforcement officials in Nevada in 2014 and Oregon in 2016. 

The Intelligence Report occasionally runs "Legal Briefs," some of which may be especially useful to law enforcement officials.

  • "Of Race and Roads," 2009. Racial profiling is not only illegal, but also remarkably ineffective.
  • "Prosecutorial Discretion," 2007. What are the limits to the discretion of officials in choosing to prosecute or not to prosecute?
  • "Peace and Protest," 2006. Can police officials force protesters to identify themselves?
  • "Officer Klansman," 2006. A Nebraska arbitrator's ruling that the state police must rehire an admitted Klansman is almost certainly in error.
  • "Hit List or Free Speech?" 2002. When does the targeting of certain individuals cross the legal line?
  • "Guarding Against Hate," 2000. Prison authorities face significant legal hazards if they tolerate racist guards.
  • "Unmasking the Klan," 1999. Are anti-masking laws aimed at the Klan enforceable under the Constitution?
  • "Avoiding Violence at Klan Rallies," 1998. Outlines steps cities may legally take when radical groups plan rallies.