On October 26, 2001, President Bush signed into law H.R. 3162, the USA PATRIOT Act. The US Secret Service was mandated by this Act to establish a nationwide network of Electronic Crimes Task Forces (ECTFs).
The concept of the ECTF network is to bring together not only federal, state and local law enforcement, but also prosecutors, private industry and academia. The common purpose is the prevention, detection, mitigation and aggressive investigation of attacks on the nation's financial and critical infrastructures.
The role of the US Secret Service has gradually evolved since the agency's 1865 inception, from its initial mandate — suppressing the counterfeiting of US currency — to protecting the integrity of the nation's financial payment systems. During this time, as methods of payment have evolved, so has the scope of the Secret Service's mission.
Computers and other chip devices are now the facilitators of criminal activity or the target of such, compelling the involvement of the Secret Service in combating cyber crime. The perpetrators involved in the exploitation of such technology range from traditional fraud artists to violent criminals -- all of whom recognize new opportunities to expand and diversify their criminal portfolio.
The concept of task forces has been around for many years and has proven successful. However, traditional task forces have consisted primarily of law enforcement personnel. The Secret Service developed a new approach to increase the resources, skills and vision by which local, state and federal law enforcement team with prosecutors, private industry and academia to fully maximize what each has to offer in an effort to combat criminal activity.
By forging new relationships with private sector entities and scholars the task force opens itself up to a wealth of resources and communication. The agency's first Electronic Crimes Task Force (ECTF), the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force, was formed based on this concept and has been highly successful since its inception in 1995.
While the Secret Service leads this innovative effort, the agency believes in partnerships with strong emphasis on prevention and education, in addition to traditional law enforcement measures. The task forces provide a productive framework and collaborative crime-fighting environment in which the resources of its participants can be combined to effectively and efficiently make a significant impact on electronic crimes.
Other law enforcement agencies bring additional criminal enforcement jurisdiction and resources to the task forces, while representatives from private industry and academia bring a wealth of technical expertise and research capabilities.
In October of 2001, President Bush signed into law H.R. 3162, the USA PATRIOT Act. In response to this legislative mandate, the Director of the Secret Service designated an initial eight major metropolitan areas, where assets and resources were directed, establishing a network of regional Electronic Crimes Task Forces. That network has continued to grow and, as of 2007, consists of 24 task forces.
"…The Director of the United States Secret Service shall take appropriate actions to develop a national network of electronic crime task forces, based on the New York Electronic Crimes Task Force model, throughout the United States, for the purpose of preventing, detecting, and investigating various forms of electronic crimes, including potential terrorist attacks against critical infrastructure and financial payments systems."
- USA Patriot Act
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.