U.S. Department of Homeland Security Taps APD Deputy Chief to Serve on Faith-Based Security Advisory Council
By Tim Ciesco
Posted on November 02, 2022, November 02, 2022

Deputy Chief Tracie BakerAs violent attacks against churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship become more prevalent in today’s world, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is convening a team of experts from across the country to look at ways the federal government can partner with these faith-based organizations to improve security and preparedness.

In September, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the 25 faith leaders and public safety professionals who were selected to serve on the department’s Faith-Based Security Advisory Council. Arlington Police Deputy Chief Tracie Baker is one of them.

 “I really appreciate the opportunity to be part of this,” said Baker, who currently oversees APD’s Community Engagement Division. “My passion for wanting to help people is why I agreed to participate on this Council.”

 The Council will provide recommendations to DHS on policies and strategies that will help bolster the agency’s ability to protect houses of worship, improve coordination and information sharing with the faith community, and increase the faith community’s access to DHS resources.

 “This Council is an important way for the Department to engage formally with critical partners on issues impacting faith communities,” said Brenda Abdelall, DHS Assistant Secretary for Partnership and Engagement. “Members of the Faith-Based Security Advisory Council will provide valuable insight that will benefit our stakeholders nationwide on important issues within the scope of the Department’s mission."

 Baker notes that APD has a strong track record of partnering with the local faith community through initiatives like the Arlington Clergy and Police Partnership (ACAPP), National Night Out, National Faith & Blue Weekend, and OneCOP. She hopes that experience, coupled with her nearly 24 years in law enforcement, will be an asset to the Council.

 “Here at APD, we are proactive in our approach,” said Baker. “We have established relationships with our different faith groups. So, when they see something that concerns them, they contact us. Because of those relationships and our educational efforts, we’ve seen quite a bit of success in our community.”

 The Council held an introductory meeting in October, with additional meetings scheduled for the coming months. Baker says she’s eager to get to work.

 “For me, it’s a matter of making sure that everybody receives the same information and has access to the same resources that we give other sectors – making sure we don’t leave anybody behind,” said Baker. “I believe this Council can do some positive things.”

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