Director Wray Addresses IACP

'Our partnerships are stronger than they’ve ever been'

 Director Wray Addresses IACP

FBI Director Christopher Wray delivers the keynote address at the IACP Annual Conference and Exposition.

Director Christopher Wray reaffirmed the FBI’s commitment to work collaboratively with its law enforcement partners and insisted the close relationships "in these challenging times" are essential to fighting crime and protecting the American people against an array of threats.

Speaking Saturday at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in San Diego, Wray underscored the importance of leveraging collective resources and strengths to better protect our communities.

Wray praised a "spirit of cooperation" and a shared mission with the IACP that remains close today, going back to the Bureau’s creation 115 years ago.

With the world’s attention drawn to the crisis unfolding in the Middle East, he also offered condolences to the people of Israel and the innocent lives lost at the hands of Hamas.

Wray described the targeting of a community because of its faith as "totally unacceptable" and said the FBI remains committed to continue confronting such threats, both in the United States and overseas.

"In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats," he said, urging partners to stay vigilant and continue sharing any intelligence or observations.

Wray headed an FBI team of approximately 75 executives and other employees at the four-day IACP conference, many of them participating in sessions focusing on mass violence and school shooting threats, today’s crisis negotiators, and gang-involved child sex trafficking, among other topics.

Surging resources, Wray explained, have been critical in tackling violent crime, and he cited several examples of successful partnerships, ranging from the deployment of FBI agents to Tucson to reduce a backlog of old state warrants and take criminals off the street to a violent gang crackdown in Houston.

Working together with state, local, and federal authorities in Houston, the FBI participated in a violent crime initiative that led to arrests and indictments against members of the 100% Third Ward Gang that operates in and around the city.

"By February," Wray said, "the Houston Police Department reported a drop of more than 10% in overall crime in just five months."

Working together has been just as critical outside of large cities. In September, Wray said the FBI began surging resources to tribal areas to focus on crimes affecting Native American women and children.

In Charleston, West Virginia, he said authorities seized more than 100 kilograms of methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs and made close to 50 arrests in one of the largest illegal narcotics investigations in state history.

Wray also recognized the work of an FBI-led task force operating out of Brunswick, Georgia, for arresting dozens of gang members and seizing a number of illegal guns and drugs in January.

"Our partnerships are stronger than they’ve ever been, and you have my commitment that, from the FBI’s perspective, we’re going to make sure that remains true."

FBI Director Christopher Wray

"Just three months after that law enforcement action, the Brunswick Police Department reported a 50% reduction in fentanyl overdoses," Wray said. "That’s making a difference in people’s lives."

He added there are more than 6,000 FBI task force officers across the country, all working together to combat violent crimes, gangs, drugs, organized crime, and child exploitation.

Wray also highlighted FBI partnerships overseas, including efforts to pursue two men extradited from Nigeria to face charges in the death of 17-year-old Jordan DeMay of Michigan. DeMay took his own life in March 2022 after being targeted in an online sextortion scheme.

"Our Detroit office has started a national campaign to warn children about these dangers," Wray said. "And, they’ve led an international effort across multiple continents to track down Jordan’s tormentors."

Throughout his remarks, Wray emphasized that law enforcement is stronger and more effective when everyone is working together and thanked our partners for their "unwavering resolve in the face of challenging situations."

Director Wray Addresses IACP

FBI Director Christopher Wray and IACP President John Letteney shake hands before Wray's keynote address to IACP.

Wray noted innovative ways the FBI is working to combat crimes and bringing "everyone’s expertise and unique capabilities to the fight." He said the FBI’s Information Management Division recently processed, extracted, and converted 100,000 digital images in support of partners in New York investigating the Gilgo Beach serial killer case.

Wray also outlined the invaluable contributions of the FBI’s Cellular Analysis Survey Team (CAST) in providing location information for cellular devices and playing a vital role in support of every threat the Bureau investigates.

He said CAST provided expert testimony in over 400 criminal trials in 2022 and assisted in more than 5,000 cases. More recently, CAST helped locate and recover people who went missing after the devastating wildfires on the island of Maui.

To better protect law enforcement officers from the dangers they face each day, Wray encouraged partners to share more detailed crime data with the Bureau on people with a violent criminal history or who have made credible threats.

He said 50 officers have already been feloniously killed in the line of duty this year, in line with the alarmingly high totals of the past two years.

Wray said one step the FBI is taking to make agents and officers safer is through the Violent Person File, a data tool within the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Available to law enforcement agencies, the NCIC serves as the central repository for all criminal justice information services within the FBI, such as files for wanted persons, sex offenders, and violent persons.

“Getting our Violent Person File populated more comprehensively could make the difference between life and death for one of your officers when they make a stop some late night,” Wray told the conference. “And that’s the most important reason we’re working together—to save lives.”

The FBI plans to release next week its annual publication, Crime in the Nation, for 2022, a compilation of six reports that provides a comprehensive examination of criminal incidents and trend data of crimes in the United States.

"Our partnerships are stronger than they’ve ever been, and you have my commitment that, from the FBI’s perspective, we’re going to make sure that remains true," Wray said. 
"The FBI will continue to stand with you and your officers in protecting the people we serve." 

"The FBI will continue to stand with you and your officers in protecting the people we serve."

FBI Director Christopher Wray