"The country's security comes first when the country reaches out and says we need your skills to fight this war," explained Army Reservist Jim Howatson, a captain in the Tacoma, Washington, police department. "There's no question that's where you're going to go."
But Ed Troyer, another law enforcement officer in Washington, wonders if fighting the war on terrorism abroad will leave us dangerously vulnerable at home. "When you decimate a police department, that's going to affect the safety of people at home, because there's a good chance the war is going to be fought on our soil as well," the Pierce County police detective told Seattle's KOMO-TV last January. "And if terrorists are going to be here, we need to keep our people to combat that here at home."
Across the nation, "local police and fire departments ... will face a loss of personnel [as] the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps mobilize reserve units to provide troop and logistical support," noted a November 25, 2002 UPI report. Long before the invasion of Iraq began, the Pentagon understood that the war would require activating "a substantial number of police officers and firefighters who are part-time soldiers, leaving local officials to figure out how to fill the gaps in their ranks at a time when bridges, power plants, and other potential terrorist targets need protection.
Randy Bruegman, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, told ABC News on January 25th: …