FBI Denver
Courtney Bernal
cebernal@fbi.gov
June 3, 2021

FBI Denver Initiative Promotes Civil Rights Engagement Through Community Outreach

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Denver Division is proud to announce the one-year anniversary of Colorado Courage with a canvass to expand the membership of the innovative community outreach group. Colorado Courage is an approach to reducing hate crimes and civil rights violations that unifies law enforcement with faith- and affinity-based communities throughout Colorado, many of whom have been historically subjected to targeted violence. These groups span local churches, synagogues, and Masjids, the LGBTQ+ community, and ethnic and/or nationality-based affinity groups.

The FBI Denver Field Office and the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office have engaged with local law enforcement partners to identify key stakeholders throughout Colorado and to hold quarterly summits with Colorado Courage chapters from the Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, and Denver areas to increase understanding of law enforcement efforts to address hate crimes and terrorist threats.

Colorado Courage stakeholders receive training, educate each other about identifying pre-attack activity, and exchange information about potential threats. The law enforcement participants may receive threat information from these communities about individuals taking steps toward acting on violent ideations, and when appropriate, will report back on steps taken to address the community members' concerns. Leads originated through Colorado Courage chapters are reviewed, and appropriate investigative actions are taken with guidance and input from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the local District Attorney’s Office. This effort has culminated in a self-sustaining and formalized organization that facilitates regular community and law enforcement communication on issues involving criminal activity including hate crimes, civil rights violations, and threats.

“We are fortunate to have such great partners in the Colorado Courage program. Their innovative and forward-leaning collaboration to engagement has made them an invaluable resource,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “This partnership allows us to reach more members of our community and educate them not only about civil rights but about potential threat identification and mitigation. FBI Denver is grateful that the members of this group have taken the initiative to share valuable resources and information to keep our communities safe.”

“It is far more difficult for us to investigate threats or prosecute crimes that go unreported,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is thankful to Colorado Courage’s community participants, the FBI, and our other law enforcement partners for helping create an environment of trust that promotes reporting and ultimately helps keep all of Colorado safer.”

As the primary federal agency responsible for investigating allegations of federal civil rights violations, the FBI places a high priority on educating the public about civil rights and protecting those rights. We have established productive and meaningful liaison relationships with state and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, non-governmental organizations, and community and minority groups to improve reporting of civil rights violations, promote the benefits of sharing information and intelligence, and develop proactive strategies for identifying and addressing trends in this field. We work closely with partners to prevent and address all federal civil rights violations.

The FBI Denver’s Community Outreach Program introduces the FBI and its mission to the people we serve via community events, school visits, FBI-hosted programming, and partnerships. Through our interactions with the public, we seek to demystify the FBI, provide awareness and education, and keep the public safe. Programs such as Colorado Courage facilitate conversation and encourage the exchange of information between law enforcement, other government agencies, and the community leaders, ensuring that all members are comfortable with and confident in reaching out to all available resources.

The first Denver-based Colorado Courage meeting took place in summer 2020, and membership continues to grow. If you represent an organization that would like to participate in Colorado Courage, or you would like more information, please contact us at DN_outreach@fbi.gov.