Central Washington University
Abstract This paper discusses paper the ways terrorism has effected law enforcement since the 2001 September 11 attacks. It has made our law enforcement more aware of how terrorists plan attacks and created a new way of policing. It also discusses where law enforcement is headed and the plans that some agencies plan to take to prepare for terrorist attacks. Law enforcement is headed in a new direction and the actions they are taking are necessary for safety in our communities.
Terrorism has been a major issue in many countries for decades and has become an even more important aspect of law enforcement in the United States since the attacks on the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001. Since 9/11 most large cities have created separate security and terrorism units much like the special gang units established to focus on a specific problem and attempt to eliminate the problem. It has become a crucial part of all law enforcement agencies to train all officers on how to deal with acts of terrorism and also how to identify the signs of a terrorist attack before it takes place. Congress has created several acts, such as the USA Patriot Act, that broadens law enforcement’s capacity to conduct searches and wiretaps when dealing with potential acts of terrorism. These new laws and statutes help ensure security on the home front and prevent actions that could lead to a terrorist attack. The federal government has also shifted federal funding to community-oriented policing in order to provide local law enforcement with grants for training on terrorism, emergency response, and homeland security. Terrorist acts were a problem in the 1990’s in the United States but have become a much greater risk as time has gone by and acts of terror around the world have increased. With law enforcement shifting so much of their attention towards terrorism, many acts of terror have been stopped before more innocent lives have been lost. One of the most important ways to stop terrorism on the home front is communication throughout all law enforcement agencies. Local police department must be able to communicate with federal agencies and share information that could possibly stop planned terrorist attacks. After 9/11 the Attorney General at the time John Ashcroft stated, “To meet this new threat and to prevent future attacks, law enforcement officials at all levels of government federal, state, and local must work together, sharing information and resources needed both to arrest and prosecute the individuals responsible and detect and destroy terrorist cells before they can strike again” (Waxman 2010). In order for this to happen law enforcement all over the country must be able to communicate on a level that has never been done before. It is hard for government agencies and local law enforcement to communicate effectively because of how much intelligence and information exist. This is a challenging matter that will most likely never be perfected but this must be overcome to guarantee the safety of every citizen in America. Communication between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies must be vertical and horizontal. According to Frederic Lemieux (2010, p.169-170) on all levels information and intelligence must be shared horizontally. This means that on the federal level organizations such as the FBI and CIA must share information and local police departments need to pass information up if they believe a credible threat is present. Data must be shared horizontally between such organizations from the FBI all the way down to police departments. The USA Patriot Act has helped rid of the wall between federal organizations such as the FBI and CIA and local law enforcement agencies. Obviously, there is some information that cannot be passed done from the federal level to local police