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Effective Homeland Defense Partnership

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 69 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2002 Pages: 174,176-177,179,180
Philip M. McVey
Date Published
5 pages
This article examines some of the responsibilities of local law enforcement as part of Homeland Defense actions.
First, a common definition of terrorism must be developed within and between agencies. It is important to draw a parallel between traditional law enforcement criminal activities and guerrilla-inspired terrorism. Terrorist acts are criminal in nature, symbolically targeted, and always aggressive. They seek to achieve political goals and communicate a message. They should be the focus of any risk assessment and management policies. Each law enforcement agency must create an assessment of its own unique risk potential in being a terrorist creation site, a host where terrorist activities thrive, a campaign site where part or all of the attack would be carried out, or merely a planning base for operations in adjacent jurisdictions. Risk assessments are easily divided into four parts: external general, external specific, internal general, and internal specific. The article includes examples of each, and describes the necessary expertise, training, preparation, and liaison to deal with specific situations. A plan to minimize or negate the threat should be created immediately upon completion of the risk assessment and before any local insurgent activity. A Crisis Management Organization should be created to implement the department’s planning.