Impact of Terrorism on Law Enforcement
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The devastating events of 9/11 provided a forewarning to our country concerning the dangers of terrorism. However, it has created a particularly greater impact on the duties and standards expected of law enforcement agencies on all levels (local, state, and national). Law enforcement has begun implementing new tactics in an effort to prevent future terrorist attacks from threatening our national security. One aspect of policing in which terrorism has brought about is the process of information sharing between all levels of law enforcement. Our nation has also witnessed a change from traditional policing to that of a militarized one.
Furthermore, after the incidents of September 11th, the creation of new federal agencies and recently enacted legislation has also impacted the practices of law enforcement in efforts to protect our nation and secure our borders against radicalism. In hindsight, these changes may not seem drastic, however, it is only by dissecting and evaluating these new incentives that one can truly understand the impact terrorism has made on law enforcement. Discussion of Intelligence in Modern Policing
It became apparent after the incidents of 9/11 that law enforcement agencies needed to improve their communication of vital material between local, state, and federal levels in order to prevent such attacks from happening again. Prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, many local police departments lacked sufficient intelligence operations, especially those aimed at terrorism on an international level. Additionally, law enforcement at the federal level “has never fully developed a strong intelligence analysis capacity dealing with the counterterrorism arena” (Roberg, R., Novak, K. Cordner, G., & Smith, B., 2012, p. 510-11). Perhaps one of the most resourceful tactics in law enforcement when implementing counterterrorism is the necessity of intelligence analysis and information sharing.
The National Strategy for Homeland Security has reported that the events of September 11, 2001 have involuntarily caused our country to cultivate plans in which regulates and prepares our law enforcement for the purpose of avoiding possible threats to our nation. The strategy also contains the impression that community police officers now have the directive of establishing stronger personnel relations with law enforcement departments at the national level in efforts to improve information sharing. Fundamentally, the objective of this strategy is to create a better system of information sharing between all levels of law enforcement, which until 9/11, was very weak with the exchanging of information (Jackson, A. L., & Brown, M., 2007, p. 112). Following the events of September 11, 2001 numerous agencies were restructured in order to efficiently meet the requirements of homeland security while enforcing traditional policing methods.
As a result, Intelligence-led policing (ILP) was one development that was likely to confront both of these issues. Intelligence-led policing is a method primarily intended to recognize the dangers terrorists and offenders pose, as well as produce effective strategies in order to remove those potential dangers. Law enforcement agencies have evolved with the establishment of ILP due to its incorporation with other policing duties dealing with civilian services and investigations (Carter, J. G., & Carter, D. L., 2012, p. 140). Since the events of September 11, 2001, our national defense plan has transformed considerably for our nation (Brooks, B. E., 2010, p. 113). Extremists often use weapons of mass destruction that lower level law enforcement agencies are not supplied or familiar with.
Although they have rarely integrated with one another, federal departments such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) are frequently paired up with lower level law enforcement agencies to practice strategies in preventing terrorism. In General, actions to prevent terrorism and operations dealing with homeland security are likely to put federal law enforcement departments at the front of these procedures in training lower level police agencies (Roberg et al., 2012, p. 8). Therefore, although the attacks of 9/11 generated alterations in our national defense strategies, it additionally adjusted law enforcement policies immensely (Brooks, B. E., 2010, p. 113). It is now more common to have squads of police officers, such as SWAT teams, with specialized training in preventing future terrorist attacks.
With exceptions to some officers at the local level, many of these specially trained teams are made up of state and national law enforcement. There are several local law enforcement agencies throughout America that do participate in anti-terrorism training, but on a larger scale many of these local departments lack the necessary training needed to prevent such threats. Therefore, local police departments, who lack special training, depend on the departments that are qualified to aid them. Likewise, the training these lower level law enforcement officers obtain varies greatly than that of state and national law enforcement. Despite the quantity of officers in local law enforcement departments, it is essential that each individual officer undergoes the preparations that are essential to be well equipped for reacting to a threat of terrorism.
These preparations are crucial in that local law enforcement officers are often the first responders to these attacks, therefore they should be familiar with what steps to take as the first ones on the scene (Brooks, B. E., 2010, p. 116). Radicalism and our national security have indeed been the topic of many debates since the attacks of September 11, 2001. These attacks also brought forth new laws, restructuring of the national government, and drastic changes in how we should use our federal funding. Although these new preferences are significant, it is also important to recognize that there are also many other aspects of law enforcement that need to be maintained. Other than terrorism, there is also severe criminal activity and the consequences of those activities that requires law enforcement’s responsiveness (Roberg et al., 2012, p. 510-11). The prevention of terrorism in America is not limited to individuals of the military.
For instance, a new legislation after the attacks of 9/11, the USA PATRIOT Act, altered guidelines for law enforcement at all levels. Although these modifications have aided U.S. citizens by improving national security and protection, some have also caused problems with the issues of terrorism (Brooks, B. E., 2010, p. 116). The changes in American laws and security were obvious not long after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Our nation witnessed an immediate transformations in our police departments and agencies at local, state, and national levels in order to safeguard our borders.
Additionally, Americans observed leaders of our national government quickly come to an agreement in drafting legislation regarding the prevention of future terrorist threats. As mentioned above, this was known at the USA Patriot Act. The act was drafted, approved, and enacted into law in no time. However, with this new act came new authorities granted to police agencies and departments, such as tapping phone lines and monitoring internet activity. By the restructuring of the federal government and its law enforcement was the establishment of
the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, and the reorganization of preferences among numerous law enforcement agencies at the federal level (FBI and DEA). With these new add-ons and restructuring of federal departments and agencies was also an expansion in federal funding for the purpose of antiterrorism tactics. Although these new federal agencies and legislations were established in good faith for America against devastating threats, they also brought forth distress amongst political activists, minorities, and immigrants (Brown, B., 2007, p. 240). The September 11, 2001 attacks revealed that terrorist threats were possible in America with the consequences being disastrous.
Additionally it revealed that radicalists world-wide were dedicated to their plan in carrying out violent and horrendous acts in the United States. It is clear of the impacts 9/11 has made on American citizens and its governmental authorities. For law enforcement, it is the simple detail that these terrorists had been living in U.S. territory for quite some time prior to the attacks. Whether law enforcement might have been able to expect the objectives of such terrorist threats is still not known, nevertheless law enforcement agencies are determined in attempting to classify those people who may have comparable goals (Roberg et al., 2012, p. 511). Conclusion
Following the events of 9/11, law enforcement departments at all levels concentrated their efforts and resources in preventing future terrorism. However, these efforts to prevent terrorism additionally meant removing staff from other policing units where criminal activity was prominent. When we take a look at American policing, we also find that law enforcement agencies gather vital information without showing the necessary investigation to integrate it into tactical responses. The idea of information sharing is vital when it comes to such threats as terrorism, and more law enforcement departments need to enforce this. Other than the new technologies of information sharing, law enforcement departments as well have more rights to intrusion with the enactment of the USA Patriot Act of 2001.
Since the threat of terrorism has risen in the United States, so has the alterations and strategies of law enforcement at all levels to prevent such attacks from happening again. These strategies were altered due to government and law enforcement agencies having to deal with issues, in which they would have to answer to with specific training in efforts for counterterrorism. Law enforcement being militarized has not only been from the impact of terrorism but it has also caused officers to dedicate less time in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities to society. Although the main idea of law enforcement is still to serve and protect citizens of society, alterations after 9/11 have had an immense impact on the policies and procedures of law enforcement in its entirety.