How Social Isolation is Leading to Radicalization

Sasha Larkin speaks about how loneliness and social isolation is increasingly becoming the new normal among active shooters, citing the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting which killed 60 people and wounded 411. Larkin, who led the Las Vegas PD incident response, points out that the shooter had none of the typical assumed motivations or labels such as violent religious or political extremism, mental health or financial issues, or any obvious grievance. This poses a unique challenge for law enforcement because such attacks include a compressed radicalization time frame with no preparation and no training, just inspiration. Larkin suggests that law enforcement build “communities of trust” through community engagement using community policing teams for outreach, awareness, and education. In addition, she says law enforcement should use the U.S. violent extremist mobilization indicators to identify “threatening behaviors” that could indicate the potential for a violent incident. 

About the Speaker

Sasha Larkin is a Deputy Chief with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where she has served for over twenty-two years. Sasha currently oversees the Homeland Security Division that encompasses the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Homeland Security Saturation Team, SWAT, Air Support, K-9, ARMOR (All Hazards Regional Multi-Agency Operations and Response) and the Intelligence Section. Sasha’s last assignment before getting promoted to deputy chief was as the captain of the Office of Internal Oversight and Constitutional Policing, which is comprised of the Force Investigation Team, the Critical Incident Review Team and the Internal Oversight unit. She also led efforts related to police reform, policy updates, and ensuring continued transparency for the agency.

In 2019, Sasha was given the honor of designing, staffing and opening the newest station to be built in Las Vegas, Summerlin Area Command. This state-of-the-art facility was created to meet the ever-expanding population, growth and demand for elite community service. Sasha was the inaugural captain for this incredible area command during a most challenging year filled with civil unrest, COVID-19, and unprecedented economic downturn. Sasha was originally promoted to Captain leading the Support Operations Bureau, which encompasses Vice, Special Events, Human Trafficking, and the Office of Community Engagement (which conducts all religious and cultural outreach, refugee education, gang prevention, and overt counter-terrorism activities), Homeless Liaison Section, and the Patrol Watch Commanders and Laughlin Area Command. Recognized for her work in community engagement, Sasha was integral in building the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) and the Fusion Liaison Officer Program.

Sasha teaches all over the world, to include the Naval Postgraduate School, Police Executive Research Forum and U.S. State Department, for the LVMPD in the field of building programs that support the prevention of terrorism and crime, how to build bridges of trust with the community and prevent a sense of isolation, and ensure the police are integrated throughout the community they serve. Sasha has been honored by numerous community organizations for her work in terrorism, law enforcement and community building efforts. In 2016, she was recognized by the Anti-defamation League as the recipient of the Shield Award for building one of the largest, most successful Terrorism Liaison Officer Programs in the country, along with one of the leading refugee integration programs nationwide. Sasha has also been honored with the Community Service Award by Girl Scouts of America and Top Cops in Washington D.C. Sasha attended the University of New Mexico, majoring in Biological Anthropology and Criminal Justice, receiving her bachelor’s degree and graduated from the Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Post Graduate School in 2021. In addition to serving with the LVMPD, Sasha has been teaching yoga for twenty-three years and travels around the world to teach and train various yoga disciplines. Her most significant outside accomplishment is being the proud mother of a little boy and adorable twin girls, and wife to a spectacular husband.

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