Be Purposeful, Be Well

Law enforcement (LE) professionals deal with some of the most brutal manifestations of evil human behavior. It is a burden that can take a toll on them and their families. And, it is a burden we can be very grateful they choose to bear.

I am struck anew with gratitude for our friends in LE as we mark the 10th anniversary of our annual ACAMS Today  LE edition.

Each year since 2010, in articles dedicated to detailing the role of LE in detecting and preventing financial crimes, as well as accounts of the experiences of working LE professionals, ACAMS gets the opportunity to say thank you.

This year’s issue contains a number of important LE-focused articles, but allow me to highlight three narratives that are actually firsthand accounts from current or former LE officials.

Jim Cox, who retired after 20 years with the Organized Crime and Narcotics Division of the Fairfax County Police, writes passionately about bringing criminals to justice, the importance of the lifelong brotherhood of police officers and how much he values working with financial institutions (FIs). Cox asserts that the fight against crime is never finished. Certainly for him it is not, as he is currently an investigator with the Prince William County Public Schools.

Despite the appreciation that LE and anti-money laundering (AML) professionals have for each other, and which we celebrate at ACAMS, it is often the case that they speak different languages. In “From badge to banker,” Cameron Field reflects on the different worlds cops and bankers inhabit in the context of his journey from the Toronto Police Service, where he worked for 32 years, to the AML team at BMO Financial Services, where he is senior manager in the AML financial intelligence unit.

“I once heard a fellow colleague who made the same transition [from LE] say that after his first week, he sat in nine meetings where loss of life was never considered. ‘Welcome to the bank,’ he said.”

A third LE professional, writing anonymously, details how police tracked down a woman involved in defrauding the elderly. The criminal was, in this case, an older woman who was herself a victim of fraud intent on recouping the money she lost. The narrative touches on the complex forces involved in how and when justice is delivered and the important role of FIs in identifying and reporting crime.

Facilitating the dialogue between LE and anti-financial crime professionals is a key to ACAMS’ mission. The focus on LE in this ACAMS Today  issue takes on a particular poignancy as we publish during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this dark time, the essential work that police and other LE professionals do has kept many on the front lines while the rest of us, doing what is also necessary but far less dangerous, work from the safety of our homes.

In New York City, where I live, a disproportionate number of police officers have contracted the virus and too many have succumbed.

Whether they wear a badge and are quite literally on the front lines, or they are responsible for identifying and reporting suspicious activity indicative of financial crime, there can be no doubt that theirs is purpose-filled work.

At ACAMS, we and our membership are privileged to share in that purpose.

And so, on behalf of our entire community, we thank you for continuing the fight. Stay safe. Be well.

Kieran Beer, CAMS
Chief Analyst, Director of Editorial Content
Follow me on Twitter: @KieranBeer
“Financial Crime Matters with Kieran Beer”

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