As a network of mayors, we hear firsthand of the political violence that local leaders face. In May, we are releasing new findings that show the rise in threats and harassment to US mayors and their troubling impacts on democracy and offering tools to help mayors manage their online and physical risks.
An Assault on Local Democracy
Findings show political violence against mayors common, more prevalent for women mayors and mayors of color
We are also providing mayors with tools and resources to address these trends in their own communities. Learn more and register below:
Wednesday, May 25
2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT (90 minutes)
Physical Safety Training, exclusively for city leaders and their trusted staff*
Led by Detective Nate Kobs, Salt Lake City Police Department and an experienced team of officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (see details below)
*this event is open to mayors, chiefs of staff, and city security professionals.
Mayors are facing a rise in risks to their physical safety and security. This workshop will offer information to help city leaders better understand threats and opportunities, and offer practices and resources to better manage their physical risks.
Detective Nate Kobs is a 13-year veteran of the Salt Lake City Police Department. Nate has been a certified Crisis Intervention Officer his entire career. He currently is the Lead Officer for the Executive Protection Unit, which serves as the Mayor’s protection detail. Nate is the co-creator of the Salt Lake City Executive Protection Academy, which is a 4-day training, teaching Officers and security professionals how to be an effective Executive Protection Specialist.
Nate Lesicka currently serves as a Senior Advisor for Law Enforcement in the Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS), Office for State and Local Law Enforcement, where he is detailed as a supervisory Special Agent with the United States Secret Service (USSS). Special Agent Lesicka has experience as an enlisted and commissioned officer in the United States military where he still serves as a reservist and was a police officer in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
Inspector Pedro Orona joined the Federal Protective Service (FPS) in September of 2016. Assigned to FPS Region 11 (National Capitol Region), he is charged with providing protection to our nation’s critical infrastructure, ensuring a safe and secure working environment for federal workers and visitors in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining FPS, Inspector Orona served 30 years on active duty in the United States Army, including two years overseas, deployed on combat operations.
Kenisha Kelley currently works for the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service. She serves as an Inspector where her duties include but are not limited to evaluating security measure, developing security plans and procedures after conducting adequate risk assessments to promote public safety and wellness. Kenisha has been recognized in her current role for demonstrating mastery of the protective and security functions of the Federal Protective Service and its policies.
James Barnes is the Assessment Program Manager for the National Capital Region (R11). His area of expertise encompasses Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. He serves as the expert consultant for Area Commanders and Inspectors for high and low complex Facility Security Assessments also known as FSAs, typically with differing criteria, conflicting guidance and/or complex multi-facetted security requirements.
Brandy Young serves as a Secret Service Uniformed Division Officer detailed to, and Matthew Nick serves as a senior instructor in, the Physical Techniques Division, Core Training Operations Directorate, Glynco training delivery point, at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) Headquarters, Georgia. Through strategic partnerships and agency collaboration, the Core Training Operations Directorate’s mission is to develop and implement foundational, advanced, and emerging law enforcement skills training for the law enforcement community.
Wednesday, May 18
2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT (90 minutes)
Online Safety Training, exclusively for city leaders
Led by Kate Bertash and Amanda Bennett, Digital Defense Fund
Local leaders now face unprecedented political violence and harassment. While engaging in dialogue with residents across social media platforms is a critical part of a mayor’s job, there are also inherent risks in maintaining an online presence. Mayors and elected leaders around the country have experienced high levels of exposure of personal information, with abuses of access to their personal information coming from across the political spectrum. This workshop will help city leaders manage their risks online.
Kate Bertash (she/her) is Director of the Digital Defense Fund, leading a team that provides technology and security resources and front-line support to the American abortion access movement. She brings together a background in nonprofit fundraising, technology startups, and public policy to this work. In her free time she designs fabrics that fool surveillance systems, co-organizes the Cryptography & Privacy Village at America’s largest hacker conference, and is completing training to be a volunteer guardian ad litem for kids in the foster system.
Amanda Bennett (she/her) is Digital Defense Fund’s project manager. Before joining the team at DDF, Amanda was the case manager at Jane’s Due Process, helping young people navigate the Texas judicial bypass process. Outside of work, she volunteers for the Bridge Collective, which helps Central Texans access reproductive health resources including emergency contraception, pregnancy tests, and abortion.
Wednesday, May 11
2 ET/1 CT/12 MT/11 PT
This virtual press conference is open to all media, city leaders, and partners.
We are releasing new findings that show the rise in threats and harassment to US mayors and their troubling impacts on democracy. These findings show that, although political violence against mayors is common, women mayors and mayors of color face more frequent and acute incidents of political violence.
The survey was conducted by academics at Oklahoma State University, with support from the Mayors Innovation Project and Equity Agenda. It was funded by the Center for American Women in Politics and the Mayors Innovation Project.