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Homeland Security: The Sworn Duty of Public Officials

Homeland Security: The Sworn Duty of Public Officials     The United States has a unique position amongst the countries of the world;...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Local Law Enforcement Agencies and Counterterrorism Responsibilities

Local Law Enforcement Agencies and Counterterrorism Responsibilities

The terror attacks on the United States of 9/11 produced a shift in strategic thinking in protecting the American people. “National Security”, is defined the concept that the context of those areas in which the Federal government has sole responsibility (The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, 2003, p. vii).The concept of “Homeland Security” was developed after 9/11 to complement the “National Security” concept. “Homeland Security” is defined as a shared responsibility which requires coordination between Federal, state, and local agencies (The National Strategy for the Physical Protection of Critical Infrastructures and Key Assets, 2003, p. vii). How have local agencies responded to these new responsibilities for countering terror?
Reaves finds that nine percent of agencies had counterterror (“anti-terror”) task forces, comprising a nationwide total of 2,700 officers. The likelihood that an agency had a task force or a written terror response policy had a strong tendency to increase as the population of the jurisdiction increased (2010, p.30). In addition, there are approximately 4,000 fulltime intelligence analysts nationwide assigned to counterterror responsibilities (Reaves, 2010, p.30). The employment of these analysts matches the tendency be be more likely as served population increases (Reaves, 2010, Appendix Table 18). This may indicate a budgetary concern, as this tendency is mirrored in other specialized policing functions such as drug, gang, and human trafficking task forces (Reaves, 2010, pp.29-30). A budgetary factor can also be seen in that both minimum training hours and base pay are also affected by the serving population size (Reaves, 2010, p. 12). Of course, this is based on the assumption that larger served population sizes have increased budget resources, and Reaves demonstrates this to be true (2010, Figure 1).
Reaves does not differentiate between type of agency (state, county, municipal, or other) in this compilation. However, it is likely that the type of agency can be linked to the size of the population served. With the exception of major cities, such as those listed in Appendix Table 1 (Reaves, 2010), agency type will reflect population. State agencies will have greater served populations than will county agencies who will in turn have greater served populations than do municipal agencies. In addition, state agencies are likely to have specialized intelligence sections. Carter discusses the growing impetus within the United States throughout the 1960's and 1970's to create intelligence sections in response to organized crime (2005, pp.56-58).
Even so, some local agencies (mostly the smaller agencies) do not have a budget to create a counterterrorism plan, as discussed in the second paragraph above. In addition, an agency with limited resources will have a lesser capacity for an organizational understanding of the homeland security responsibilities as they won't have the time to study the issue. This does not have to be the case; organizers of the “Campus Chaos” training exercises, a Central Texas multi-jurisdictional all-hazards event, discuss the inclusion of smaller agencies into the exercises (Miller et al, 2015). Considering that homeland security is based on cooperation, this is a good model to emulate.
This kind of cooperation becomes necessary considering the transnational threats that globalization has presented towards homeland security. The RAND corporation details some of these threats; weapons proliferation, ethnic violence, cyber attacks, drug trafficking, and the spread of infectious diseases (Davis, 2003, pp. 1-2). The study did not include illegal immigration. Perhaps the most glaring example of a combination of most of these factors is the impact that narcoterror cartels have on the United States. A State of Texas Department of Public Safety study notes that cartel activities are a significant threat to Texas (Department of Public Safety, 2013, p.2).


Carter, D. L. (2005). Brief history of law enforcement intelligence: Past practice and recommendations for change. Trends in Organized Crime, 8(3), 51–62. Retrieved September 10, 2014 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=17060939&site=ehost- live&scope=site

Davis, L. (2003). Globalization’s Security Implications (No. IP-245-RC). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation. Retrieved May 18, 2015 from

Department of Homeland Security. (2003). The national strategy for the physical protection of critical infrastructures and key assets. Retrieved May 7, 2015 from http://oai.dtic.mil/oai/oai? verb=getRecord&metadataPrefix=html&identifier=ADA413033

Department of Public Safety. (2013). Texas Public Safety Threat Overview 2013. . Retrieved January 15, 2015 from http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/media_and_communications/threatOverview.pdf

Miller, D., Thomas, J., Faulkner, J., and Kienke, K. (2015, May). Campus Chaos 2014: What were we thinking? Panel Discussion at the Texas 2015 Emergency Management Conference. San Antonio, Texas

Reaves, B. A. (2010). Local police departments (2007). Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved May 17, 2015 from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/lpd07.pdf

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