Long-Term Effects of Law Enforcement's Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Long-Term Effects of Law Enforcement's Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Long-Term Effects of Law Enforcement's Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Long-Term Effects of Law Enforcement's Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Synopsis

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the need for increased counterterrorism (CT) and homeland security (HS) efforts at the federal, state, and local levels has taken the spotlight in public safety efforts. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, many law enforcement agencies (LEAs) shifted more resources toward developing CT and HS capabilities, and the federal government continues to support these efforts with grants provided through the Department of Homeland Security. This monograph examines the long-term adjustments that large urban LEAs have made to accommodate the focus on CT and HS, as well as the advantages and challenges associated with it. The study relies primarily on in-depth case studies of five large urban LEAs, as well as a review of federal HS grant programs and a quantitative analysis of the potential costs associated with shifting law enforcement personnel from traditional policing to focus on HS and CT functions. Major trends among the five case study LEAs include the creation of specialized departments and units, as well as an increased emphasis on information-sharing, which, nationwide, has led to the creation of fusion centers that serve as formal hubs for regional information-sharing networks. LEAs' HS and CT efforts are also greatly influenced by the restrictions and requirements associated with federal HS grant funding. Finally, using cost-of-crime estimates, it is possible to partially quantify the costs associated with LEAs' shifting of personnel away from traditional crime prevention toward CT and HS - there are also clear benefits associated with law enforcement's focus on CT and-HS,-but-they-aredifficult to quantify, and this is posing a challenge for LEAs the economic downturn" puts pressure on public budgets.

Excerpt

Background

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the need for increased counterterrorism (CT) efforts at the federal and state levels has taken the spotlight in public safety efforts. But equally important is the effort at the local law enforcement agency (LEA) level. A report by the U.S. Department of State explained that

The continued threat of terrorism has thrust domestic prepared
ness obligations to the very top of the law enforcement agenda.
…[T]his capacity must be considered as much a staple of law
enforcement operations as crime analysis, criminal intelligence,
and crime prevention.” (U.S. Department of State, 2005)

Terrorism has become a local community concern, and LEAs have increased the level of resources devoted to CT efforts. The International Association of Chiefs of Police describes a dire need for law enforcement’s attention to CT efforts, stating “local police leadership is urgently needed … [to] allay emotions and concerns [of] citizen perception of danger” of terrorist threat (International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2003, p. 5).

Today, CT is an important part of many local LEAs’ agendas, especially those in urban areas and/or in high-risk jurisdictions. But LEAs are still developing comprehensive CT strategies and assessing what direction these plans should take. Incorporating CT activities into a department is a significant organizational change process. Based . . .

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