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Homeland Security: Practical Tools for Local Governments

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2002
85 pages
This document, produced by the National League of Cities, serves as a guidebook for local leaders to achieve safer cities by providing some basic tools for navigating hometown security and a framework for action.
Homeland security is a responsibility of America’s cities and towns, a responsibility that will not go away, and a responsibility that requires dedication of new public funds to ensure long-term readiness for threats that before were considered a remote possibility. The National League of Cities designed this guidebook to help local leaders achieve the goal of making their cities safe. The guidebook is a compilation of the most up-to-date information available to help local officials find answers to questions, such as what is the likelihood of an attack in the community; what will it take to protect the community; how can homeland security be incorporated into the community’s current emergency plan; and how can local leaders make homeland security planning a priority while meeting the day-to-day needs of the community. The document begins with what elected officials can do to ensure the security of their hometown: plan, practice, communicate, prepare the local government, aggressively seek funding, and find and use resources. The remainder of this document provides more information on how local officials can fulfill these roles and examples showing how cities and towns across the country are doing exactly that. It offers some specific response guidelines from a hazardous materials expert. Key issues addressed include: (1) attacks with conventional explosives, (2) bioterrorism, (3) nuclear and radiological attacks, (4) cyberterrorism, (5) interoperability, (6) training, and (7) crisis communication. Appendices A-B (resources)