Questions On Local Law Enforcement

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Local Law Enforcement Response to Terrorism
William Lynch
Saint Leo University

The threat of terrorism is constantly growing and evolving. As such, our response to acts of terrorism must evolve with it. With the increased security posture at many of our larger cities with industries, municipal buildings, and other large venues that would be desirable terrorist targets, it is possible that extremists will turn to targeting smaller, less prepared targets such as state and local facilities. After the attacks on September 11th 2001, our nation has established the Department of Homeland Security as well as sections within other departments of the federal government tasked specifically with protecting the homeland from internal
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While terrorism in not necessarily a new method for achieving political or ideological goals – the first known use of the word terrorism was in 1795 – the extent and severity of the attacks has become very high in last few decades. (Terrorism, 2014) The Oklahoma City bombing, the subway attacks in Madrid, the September 11th attacks are all examples of high profile, high impact attacks that caused mass panic and casualties. What is unprecedented however, was the need for local law enforcement assistance in all aspects of the anti-terrorism mission for the United States. The high impact of these attacks displayed the need for all levels of our governments to prepare for and respond to attacks when they occur. Kelling and Bratton stated, “Counter-terrorism has to be woven into the everyday workings of every department. It should be included on the agenda of every meeting, and this new role must be imparted to officers on the street so that terrorism prevention becomes part of their everyday thinking.” (As cited by Clarke & Newman, 2007) This statement highlights the level of importance that the local level law enforcement agencies hold in the national security mission. The likelihood of an act of terrorism occurring in many of the local jurisdictions throughout the United States is very low but the risk is still present and as such, local officials and law enforcement leaders cannot dismiss
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