Magazine article Law & Order

Homeland Security. or Not?

Magazine article Law & Order

Homeland Security. or Not?

Article excerpt

One of the articles we wanted to run in this issue had the lofty title, "10 Things the Small and Medium Department Can Do for Homeland Security." After all. the majority of law enforcement in the United States is done by small and mid-size departments. So, what dynamic and progressive actions are these departments taking on the hottest enforcement topic in the nation? What tips can we pass on to other departments? What are some lessons learned? Some challenges overcome?

What we found was that virtually nothing is going on. We contacted a dozen different mid-size departments and spoke directly to the chief or deputy chief. No one wanted to comment because, frankly, nobody is doing anything. And they certainly don't want to tell anyone that. Their city or county councils don't see the need, and homeland security at the local level pretty much stops right there.

Somehow, small and mid-size departments have in their collective minds that advanced and expensive communication systems, which they say they can't afford, are the only answers to homeland security issues. Of course, updated communications gear is one very critical aspect, but only one. Yes, grant money is more available for state police and regional policing efforts. Yes, grant money is less available for smaller departments to piggyback these regional efforts. So the smaller departments throw up their hands in despair.

The real problem might be the attitude the smaller departments have about the overall role that communications gear plays in homeland security. …

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