Local Police Response to Terrorism

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This paper examines the measures and initiatives taken by local law enforcement organizations in the U.S. in response to increased terrorist attacks. It analyzes, and interprets information obtained from the studies conducted by other academic scholars on this topic, in addition to information sourced from the resources of a number of law enforcement organizations operating at the local level in the United States. This research established that the initiatives and measures taken by local law enforcement agencies in the U.S. have been largely successful, but some of them are inappropriate and need to be abandoned or improved because they result in harm to some innocent groups of people in American society.

Local Police Response to Terrorism


Local law enforcement organizations in the U.S. are facing a set of problems and issues that are becoming increasingly complex, with the emergence of threats against national security and criminal networks coordinated at the global level. Terrorism has become the most serious threat against national security that countries are facing today. With the emergence of radical Islamism, modern-day criminals are extending their terrorist activities across international boundaries. These terrorists have proven to be highly adaptive in their techniques of terrorism proliferation. Local police agencies remained with no option, but to upgrade their capabilities in order to be able to counter this new menace. They are coming up with new strategies that are just as networked and adaptive as those employed by the terrorists (Kayyem & Pangi, 2003).


Local police have come to the realization that time-tested approaches, which focus on prevention, are no longer effective at successfully meeting the complex new challenges that have arisen due to terrorism. It is now apparent that prevention approaches must be integrated with new ones focusing on prediction. Local law enforcement agencies have integrated the systems designed to safeguard and protect sensitive information, with efforts to collaborate and collaborate with other law enforcement establishments both within the U.S. and abroad. Strategic relationships anchored in local communities, have replaced localized, territorial approaches of operation. These new strategies whose purpose is to counter terrorism are driven by the reality that radical ideologies often have global implications. The terrorist groups that harbor these ideologies and use violence to achieve their aims, have a global reach. It enables them to hit localized targets in various countries including the United States. The impact posed by this new reality is that attacks waged by terrorists can result in devastating effects on the U.S. and its interests. The U.S. can experience these effects no matter the global location that such attacks take place (Council of State Governments, 2005).

Local police organizations in the U.S. are facing a brutal, unfamiliar, and amorphous adversary. This terrorist threat can be divided into three categories, which local police have to give equal importance and emphasis in order to deal with the threat of terrorism effectively. The first category includes homegrown terrorists whose inspiration comes from Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The second involves foreign terrorists who enter the United States to raise funds for financing their operations in the U.S. or abroad. Finally, terrorists whose supporting framework for their operations occurs both in the U.S. and foreign countries and, therefore, they have the capability to conduct their operations in both arenas.

As an example, the experience of the Los Angeles, California Police Department with regard to terrorists indicates that the principal threats in this locality are locally-based, self-directed, and self-generating. The LADP has on numerous occasions identified direct connections between local suspects and overseas groups, but actors based...
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