The FBI’s commitment to work collaboratively with its law enforcement partners is one of four key leadership aspects driving the Bureau’s work, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a law enforcement audience Saturday.
At the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Chicago, Wray spoke of the close working relationships that FBI personnel have with state and local law enforcement partners across the country—relationships that are vital to keeping the American people safe. The Bureau works with its partners every day on task forces dedicated to eradicating child exploitation, combating terrorism, addressing counterintelligence threats, and more.
Wray explained that it is essential to continue growing those partnerships.
“We’ve got to push that foundation even further,” Wray said. “We’ve got to get to a place where the collaboration and the partnership is so second nature that we don’t even stop to think about it anymore. You know the old saying: One team, one fight.”
Wray also addressed the difficult and pressing issue of law enforcement suicides, stressing that agencies must work together to ensure officers have access to mental health treatment if they need it and to remove any stigma associated with seeking help.
“Every officer, every deputy, and every agent we lose is one too many,” Wray said. “It’s a loss to our organizations, a loss to our communities, and most importantly, it’s a devasting loss to the loved ones they leave behind.”
Wray said this issue has confronted many departments and confirmed that the FBI has dealt with suicide in its own ranks.
In addition to fostering strong partnerships, the other three guiding leadership principles Wray described for the FBI are an uncompromising focus on process, community standing, and innovation. Wray encouraged the police chiefs to emphasize these tenants in their own agencies.
“We’ve got to keep finding new ways to work together—to keep being more efficient, more agile, more resilient.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray
Wray explained that he sees process as always doing the right thing in the right way. He said the FBI focuses on the basic core values of respect, objectivity, independence, and “following the facts wherever they may lead and to whomever they may lead—no matter who likes it.”
Wray also emphasized the need to address the standing of law enforcement within the community by focusing on the opinions of those who experience the work of officers and agents most directly—judges, jurors, suspects, victims, and victims’ families.
“I’m talking about the opinions of the people who actually experience your department or your agency through your work, the people who actually count on you through your work,” Wray said. “Those are informed opinions, based not on some comment or sound bite, but on one case at a time, one investigation at a time, one traffic stop at a time, one 911 call at a time, one compassionate gesture at a time.”
On innovation, Wray said the FBI and its partners are working every day in innovative ways to protect the country from numerous threats, such as domestic terrorism, hate crimes, and foreign influence or interference.
“We’ve got to keep finding new ways to work together,” Wray concluded. “To keep being more efficient, more agile, more resilient.”