Opening Session--Kerik emphasizes the importance of corrections' protective role for the country.

Author:St. Gerard, Vanessa
Position:2005 Winter Conference Phoenix
 
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Bernard B. Kerik, former New York City police commissioner, illustrated during his Opening Session keynote speech how the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and the subsequent war on terror signal the fact that America must focus on emergency preparedness by communicating, participating and coordinating with others in an attempt to protect the nation from other similar attacks. More specifically, Kerik emphasized that "there are still enemies out there," and highlighted corrections' key role in protecting the country and contributing to the fight against terror.

On the morning of Sept. 11, Kerik was in his office when the first airplane hit Tower 1 of the World Trade Center, he said. By the time the second plane hit Tower 2, Kerik was standing at the base of the first tower. Needless to say, Kerik felt and saw the effects of this attack up close and was a significant factor in the rebuilding of the city. "Because of that flag, because of the principles of freedom that that flag represents, because of our economic freedoms, our religious freedoms, our support of women and human rights--That's why we were attacked," Kerik said. "Where were we on the morning of Sept. 11?" Kerik asked. "We weren't in Iraq, we weren't in Afghanistan. We didn't even have a ... footing in this war against terror. We were doing nothing and suffered the most substantial attack in our country's history. Doing nothing will kill us. We've got to fight this war to fight crime."

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And according to Kerik, the war on terror has succeeded abroad--in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere--during the past three years as a result of intelligence gathering and intelligence sharing among the military and other U.S. agencies. But, he added, this intelligence, this communication must be shared here in the United States to continue protecting the nation during this battle against terrorists. "Intelligence--that's the key to the success of this battle. We have to do that in this country," Kerik said. He went on to explain corrections' role: "You have to be a part of that because when we take the people off the streets in this country that go to jail, they communicate and they talk, they work with other criminals, organized gangs, organized units. You've got to collect that information, you have to get it back to the authorities that need it."

Kerik explained how within the New York City Department of Correction, an intelligence network was created...

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