Kevin Farrington joins JEWISHcolorado as new Regional Security Advisor
Kevin Farrington, who will join JEWISHcolorado as its new Regional Security Advisor with Secure Community Network (SCN) in early November, has not yet retired from his 25-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Which is why, when it came time to interview for JEWISHcolorado’s newsletter, he must briefly step away from his FBI duties of that moment—standing in western Nebraska with an FBI Crisis Response Team and multiple other law enforcement agencies as negotiations with a barricaded subject holding a hostage enter hour 29.
“This is what we train for,” Farrington says, as he starts his interview with JEWISHcolorado. “We will see how long it goes.”
(Ultimately, the situation in Nebraska was resolved—the hostage released, the subject in custody, and no shots fired by law enforcement.)
When Farrington arrives at JEWISHcolorado, he will bring with him decades of wide-ranging experience, starting as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy and as an officer leading mission-driven teams in the U.S. Marine Corps.
From his years in the FBI, he brings experience as an investigator, program builder and manager, security planner, and leader—he will retire as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Office.
Perhaps most important, he brings with him a positive and humble outlook—the kind of attitude that seeks new opportunities to be challenged, frequently credits the people around him as “gifted” or “amazing,” and believes there is no higher professional calling than the protection of his fellow citizens.
“I was looking for a new opportunity where I still had a strong sense of mission, and Secure Community Network offers that,” Farrington says. “If you can contribute to keeping people safe and secure as they choose to exercise their religion of choice, there is nothing more American than that.”
From Midshipman to U.S. Marine Corps
Farrington does not come from a long line of naval officers, but even as a child growing up in Baltimore, he had his eye on the Naval Academy. He was a high school All-American lacrosse player, and that achievement opened doors to a Division I All-American career at Navy playing lacrosse with, as he puts it, “ridiculously gifted athletes—it was humbling to be around them.”
The Naval Academy offered a path to his next goal—the U.S. Marine Corps.
“All branches have amazing histories, but the Marines are the tip of the spear,” he says. “I wanted to push myself, not just for the personal challenge but for the opportunity to be a leader of those kinds of men and women.”
Farrington spent more than five years in the Marines, based at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, he was deployed overseas on tours that took him to the Middle East and Far East. He volunteered for back-to-back deployments, taking him away from home for 36 straight months. “I wanted to get out and do the job I signed up to do,” he says simply.
He believes his drive to work hard and excel is “woven from different threads” including his parents who set the example of a serious work ethic and his experience competing as an athlete.
“I am not physically imposing or a naturally gifted athlete,” he says. “I have to work hard. The people in the Navy and Marine Corps love to do challenges, and you want to keep up with them to honor their accomplishments.”
After he left the Marine Corps, a chance encounter at a job fair led Farrington to his next career move. He stopped by an FBI recruitment booth and asked if he would measure up to FBI hiring standards. It did not take long for him to land in Orlando, Florida, as an FBI Special Agent starting a career that he calls a “fantastic fit.”
“I did not want to give up on the mission and purpose of government service,” he says. “The FBI gave me that opportunity.”
FBI experience and achievements
Farrington’s FBI career is distinguished by a long list of skills, achievements, experiences, and honors. In Orlando, he began by investigating white-collar crime, a “great place to start,” he says, because these are “meticulous cases” with large volumes of documents and data and savvy targets.
After 9/11, he was chosen as one of the agents to start a Joint Terrorism Task Force and was singled out as the first agent in the Orlando area to investigate U.S.-based terrorist organizations which led him into the world of violent white supremacist organizations and other extremist groups. He was the sole FBI case agent on the first post-9/11 federal terrorism conviction in the Middle District of Florida. Several years later, the FBI also asked him to start a Violent Gang and Organized Crime Task Force in Orlando. As a result of one international organized crime investigation which resulted in multiple arrests and the seizure of 6,000 pounds of narcotics and 80 firearms, Farrington was named Organized Crime Federal Agent of the Year by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
He has also been an FBI SWAT Team Member and rose to the level of SWAT Senior Team Leader, responding to more than 200 high-risk operations, including three active shooter incidents in Florida and Colorado.
With each passing year during his FBI career, Farrington gained more experience as the person tapped to build programs from the ground up, create strategic plans, and lead those plans to a successful outcome.
After Florida, he spent more than two years at FBI Headquarters in Virginia, representing the FBI on a joint-agency international task force of more than 30 U.S. law enforcement agencies and international partners targeting international organized crime. He served as FBI lead agent on international kidnappings for ransom in multiple countries.
“We were involved in significant investigations in different parts of the world working with foreign partners and the intelligence community,” Farrington says. “It was really impactful work because we could help families that were victims of kidnapping for ransom.”
When Farrington joined the Denver field office in late 2016, he initially led the FBI’s gang task force, which was then the FBI’s largest task force in Denver. Under his leadership, the task force conducted a highly successful investigation culminating in the arrest of more than 70 gang members on federal charges, the largest federal enforcement operation in the history of Colorado.
He was later asked to establish and lead the first-ever International Organized Crime/Money Laundering/Cyber-enabled Crime Task Force in Denver, merging the needs and interests of stakeholders from 12 federal, state, and local agencies. This second task force has conducted numerous impactful international investigations targeting threats ranging from high-volume cartel narcotics trafficking through dark web firearms traffickers.
“It was a great success for the FBI,” he says. “One of the great things about the FBI is that it is constantly trying to evolve, trying to get smarter, addressing the biggest threats.”
Secure Community Network and JEWISHcolorado
As antisemitic incidents have spiked in recent years, Farrington joins SCN and JEWISHcolorado with a clear vision of his mission and the threats the Jewish community faces. He has written about 2021 research by the Southern Poverty Law Center indicating that the number of neo-nazi groups in the U.S. had dropped to a 10-year low. This drop, Farrington says, is likely due to the realization by antisemitic individuals that group alignment easily facilitates law enforcement awareness and monitoring.
“The biggest challenge now is the diversity of the threat,” Farrington says. “It can be a U.S.-based lone wolf extremist with no prior indication of extremism. It can be an individual like we saw in Colleyville, Texas, who is of Pakistani and British descent and had only been in the U.S. for two weeks. Even among very educated people, we see speech that is outspoken against the Jewish community, so it is a diverse threat.”
Talk to Farrington for just a short time and you come away feeling he is the right person for this job. He, in turn, expresses gratitude to be able to take on weighty new responsibilities.
“I feel like I have been blessed with all the opportunities I have had in my life,” he says. “If I can use my skills to give back, offering people the chance to practice whatever religion they choose without fear, I will rally to that cause.”