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Strategic Modeling: Los Angeles County's Counter-Terrorism Program is Being Duplicated Nationwide

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 28 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2004 Pages: 34-38
Lois Pilant
Date Published
May 2004
5 pages
This article describes the counter-terrorism approach adopted by the multi-agency, multi-disciplinary Los Angeles-based Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) group.
During 1996, two Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department officers were keeping an eye on Osama Bin Laden after he issued an order to conduct terrorist attacks against the United States and its citizens. The two officers were concerned because they saw the face of terrorism changing; terrorism was now being conducted within complex networks. The most effective counter-terrorism response, it seemed, would be a network approach similar to the one used by terrorists. The TEW got off the ground in 1996, eventually acquiring members from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, the Los Angeles County Police, and the FBI. The goal was to launch a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to counter terrorism through interagency information sharing. Even before the events of September 11th underscored the importance of interagency information sharing, the TEW recognized that the only way to fight a networked terrorist effort was to network and share information on a wide scale. Following September 11th, the once marginalized TEW group received new offices in the Los Angeles Sheriff Department’s Emergency Operations Bureau and is commanding a small amount of funding for its expanding operations. The interagency cooperation facilitated by the TEW group has made the TEW a model for cities around the country. Five TEW’s are in various stages of development within California and nationally, TEW groups have been developed in Washington and Oklahoma. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the 30 urban areas that have been identified as at high-risk of terrorist attack will be encouraged to adopt the TEW approach in their local counter-terrorism strategies. A textbox contained within the article describes the structure of the Los Angeles County Terrorism Early Warning Group. Figures