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local levels have been receiving much attention in the realm of Paper

Words: 2466, Paragraphs: 12, Pages: 9

Paper type: Essay , Subject: Community Policing

local levels have been receiving much attention in the realm of public safety endeavours. Reports from U.S Department of State on evaluating and regulating the terrorist risk and the threat of terror attacks had thrust domestic preparedness obligations to the higher hierarchy of law enforcement agenda (Argomaniz, Bures & Kaunert, 2015). Such a capacity must be considered as much of law enforcement operations as crime analysis, criminal intelligence as well as crime prevention. Nacos (2016) has stated that in the immediate consequence of 9/11, several law enforcement agencies (LEAs) who have taken into consideration terrorist threats to be high for their jurisdiction internally transferred their resources. These agencies can further raise departmental expenses to enhance their security for their department and to form counter-terrorism (CT) competencies along with the development of a generalised level of preparedness for fatal incidents which might involve chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological or severe explosive incidents (Combs, 2017). Currently, CT and HS are identified as vital parts of LEA’s agencies specifically for LEAs which are located in urban areas and in jurisdictions whereby threats of terror attacks is considered to be high. The purpose of the following essay is to evaluate the pre and post 9/11 law enforcement responses towards terrorism and terror threats.


Jensen and LaFree (2016) have stated that pre-9/11, the focus of law enforcement primarily based on certain types of criminal and illicit acts such as organized crime, white-collar crime or gangs engaged in illegal activities. However, in consequence of 9/11, law enforcement’s focus has primarily evolved that include terrorist attacks. Nine years post the 9/11 attacks, reports of Karlsrud (2017) have witnessed that LEA’s information-sharing networks have evolved to incorporate n not only CT but further the adoption of an all-crimes approach with the goal of striking a balance between criminal intelligence as well as intelligence related to terrorist hazards. In terms of organizational departments, while pre-9/11 a number of units comprised certain crime-centric departments such as arranged crime departments or narcotic units. Furthermore, Combs (2017) has revealed that after the 9/11 terror attack, several large and recognized urban LEAs raised CT-centric departments in order to obtain as well as evaluate information regarding terror threats and attacks as well as intelligence. However, in the view of Carter (2015), several state governments along with little local administration have set up fusion-centres significantly on their initiative to seek the wide gaps in areas of information-sharing, violence, terrorism and law enforcement. A recent evolution has been identified as a substitution of Terrorism Early Warning Groups (TEWGs) with the fusion centre model. Argomaniz, Bures and Kaunert (2015) have noted that fusion centre models significantly developed the focus from CT-centric on all-crimes, all-danger approach to intelligence collection, information distribution and evaluation. Majority of fusion centres are primarily regulated by the state police or a state’s HS bureau whereby only 20% are managed by large urban areas.

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Reports by Wolfe et al. (2018) have disclosed that three of the five case study LEAs have been co-located with the city’s or nation’s emergency operations centre further facilitating these authorities to attain economies of scale both in the physical investment and in co-locating staff employed with both CT and for emergency preparation and response. Prior to 9/11, law enforcement as a whole has been majorly accentuated on areas of internal domestic terrorist hazards and the ones belonging to racist or radical groups from the left wing and from the right wing which posed critical amount of danger (Gosz, 2015). According to the studies conducted by Carter (2015), associations such as Animal Liberation Front, Symbionese Liberation Army, and Black Liberation Army along with the Weathermen on the left were identified as revolutionary groups who had the potential of causing critical terrorist attacks. However, the right majorly constituted of the Army of God, American Nazi Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and Militias along with the Arm of God who were viewed as severe threats of domestic terrorism or civil unrest (Jensen & LaFree, 2016). These threats and detrimental nation risks were all considered to be sporadic. These groups did not have its occurrence on regular basis and major proportion of law enforcement executives at the local and state level failed to contest with these agencies directly. However, according to Lewandowski and Carter (2017), this was identified as critical threat that the local as well as state law enforcement officers were recognizable and trained for. Activities reflecting certain forms of criminality exhibited by these groups typically involved anti-government activities, bombings, hostility and aggression against minor sections of the society as well as bank robberies. These were identified as individual crimes that showed commitments by individuals or by minor organized conspiracies or threats (Gosz, 2015).

At this juncture, Karlsrud (2017) have reflected on areas of network composition during pre 9/11 which majorly focused on diverse types of criminal acts such as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). However, following the 9/11 terror attack, the networks’ foci significantly expanded in order to involve wide ranging types of criminal activities and threats under the fusion centre model. It has been identified by Jensen and LaFree (2016), that various developments which lie beneath the shift towards an all-crime, all-hazards strategy to intelligence evaluation as well as information-distribution. Firstly, as LEAs’ counter-terrorism endeavours continue to advance towards a fusion centric model, large and recognized urban areas have initiated to utilize information technology in order to arrange practically and to share information. An advantage of organizing through a virtual approach implies to its facilitation of increased number of LEAs to participate in the sphere of information-sharing network and further aids to condense the amount of resource commitments required to involve in a fusion centre (Combs, 2017). However, Lewandowski and Carter (2017) have shed light on the primary goal of the ‘fusion’ process in disseminating and assessing intelligence information to successfully identify larger patterns, forms as well as themes of recent crime trends. Though fusion process is considered as a dynamic process, there may be lesser rates of interpersonal interactions in virtual organizations along with a declined level of informal information exchange. Furthermore, incentivizing involvement shows greater amount of complexities when LEA workforce is not co-located properly (Gosz, 2015).

Secondly, as per the studies of Carter 2015), transformed and improved focus on CT and HS have been serving as a vital catalyst in order to efficiently support and endorse technology adoption such as IT system, software as well as camera coordination operated by fusion centres. Wolfe et al. (2018) have found that a beneficial factor of improved focus on counter-terrorism and House of Security is that it proficiently increases an improved accessibility of intelligence information, enhanced association of network participation along with influencing technology to allow categorizing the nexus between various forms of criminal acts and possible terrorist-related activity. However, Lewandowski and Carter (2017) have indentified certain challenges related to the extended usage of technology that is needed to further include sustainability plans in order to seek regulation and maintenance as well as replacement expenses uncovered by grant funding and also to focus on incompatible data record management systems among LEA network participants.

Thirdly, according to Gaines et al. (2015), LEAs have targeted the current infrastructure as well as networks to help in building their local intelligence operations. Furthermore, for example, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) network is recognized as a vital model for one LEA to efficiently form its counter-terrorism CT information-sharing network. In addition to this, LEAs also have employed designated officers within the crime unit in order to serve as liaisons between officers operating in the field along with the CT unit or fusion centre and LEAs have extended their community networks (Ormseth et al., 2016). However, one of the beneficial factors of implementing or expanding current linkages rely on the start-up expenses related to the building on current associations tend to be lower. Meanwhile the challenge of this fusion system as per the studies of Gaines et al. (2015) reflects on the considerable amount of time and resources will be used in the functioning of this system. These transaction expenses however tend to be disregarded while generating new networks. Furthermore, areas where existing networks are implemented it is possible that the objectives of the networks may tend to get diluted over time.

Fourthly, Ormseth et al. (2016) are of the opinion that fusion centres have facilitated the centralization as well as formalization of information exchange process among the LEA’s alongside other network participants within a particular region. These centres have further permitted these networks in order to emerge formally connected to the federal intelligence community. However, an advantage is that formalizing information distribution helps to make this method less reliant on personal associations and contacts which are specifically essential as officers typically rotate out of CT positions into new and challenging roles. Thus a challenge of efficiently formalizing intelligence information exchange is that fusion centre participants tend to reflect various information needs and objectives must be distinguished as well as negotiated (McQuade, 2016).

Lewandowski and Carter (2017) have identified theories in the organizational literature which associates with the structural as well as organizational evolution of policing agencies following the 9/11 terror attack. As per the studies of Gosz (2015), the contingency theory has emerged as an overriding theoretical framework for comprehending the structures as well as practices of police organizations. The contingency perspective is identified as a suitable theory to implement to te study of organizational change in US police agencies following the occurrence of 9/11 incident. As the incompetence of police strategies during the pre 9/11 attack reflected an unconstructive fit between police agencies, crime departments and societal environments. Thus for these agencies to attain greater level of efficacy they needed to bring significant modifications to its structural formation. Otley (2016) has stated that the contingency theory framework primarily involves cyclical process certain framework aimed for understanding organizational framework has been highlighted to understand the evolution process of U.S crime agencies. In the framework of contingency theory an preliminary fit is present between an organization and its background, along with environmental alteration that occurs due to technological changes that leads to a misfit, such misfit tends to pose challenges to the functioning and forces of the organization to implement subsequent modifications both in the structure as well as operational approaches or threat becoming obsolete or immaterial. Furthermore, White (2017) has noted that a new fit tends to materialize between an organization and its external environment.

Significantly, three primary propositions have come forward under the idea of order maintenance further referred as community policing regarding organizational change in U.S crime investigation and policing. The contingency theory has further emphasized on police agencies and law enforcement agencies must act responsive to a social setting that has altered significantly in regards to its expectations about government in general along with police and law enforcement services particularly (Bitektine & Haack, 2015). Organizational change and developments in areas of law enforcement services must lead to a reprioritization of police operations with a need to form systematic associations between U.S law enforcement agency’s operational activities as well as its materialization of organizational precedence. Thus, contingency theory has facilitated to justify the necessity for LEAs and police agencies to efficiently adapt themselves to emerging demands and seek improved fit within external surroundings by mitigating acts of terrorism (McQuade, 2016). Moreover, according to Nathan et al. (2015), recognized and official implementation of policing model and fusion-centric models such as stringent community policing and law enforcement must lead visible actions aimed for social order as well as service provision and reduce core functions of crime hostility and threats.

At this juncture, Wolf and Floyd (2017) have posited the importance of institutional theory on the way organization’s external setting impacts its structure. However, a primary factor of institutional perspective relies on the concept of legitimacy. Legitimacy typically refers to the extent of cultural support for an organization; the degree to the range of organized cultural accounts offers explanations for its continuation, operation and jurisdiction. However it is essential to note that rationalized organizational settings rarely give legitimacy (White, 2017). Thus organizations dealing with law enforcement services with efficient dissemination of intelligence information must attain legitimacy and further sustain it over time. Furthermore, according to Nathan et al. (2015), institutional pressures positioned upon organizations tend to have crucial impact on the way organizations perform their day-to-day business. For example, McQuade (2016) have noted that U.S police departments and law enforcement agencies may often be observed to be under pressure and may be under court order in order to employ more officers from ethically marginalized sections or to create demographic representativeness in their agencies. Meanwhile, White (2017) have stated that crime departments can be prosecuted if they show incompetence to use rationalized employment procedures and would show greater degree of inclination towards more qualified and experienced designated officers.

Furthermore, it is important to note that several factors of the institutional standpoint may aid in understanding underlying reasons for evolution of the U.S law enforcement services. Police agencies with evolving crime agencies function within an environment which is regulated by social as well as political institutions such as special interest associations, mayor, city council) (Nathan et al., 2015). Such law enforcement agencies have the capability to persuade the policies and decisions of police organizations. According to institutional theory, crime departments with law enforcement agencies must receive their legitimacy from these institutions (Ostrom, 2015). Thus according to Bitektine and Haack (2015), U.S police agencies must efficiently guarantee they work as police agencies. To advance such a goal, law enforcement agencies with crime departments and police agencies must prefer particular objectives, procedures, approaches and tactics and conform to the expanded and institutionally approved norms and regulations Ormseth et al., 2016). Thus institutional theoretical perspective proposes that organizational change or the modifications in law enforcement services in the U.S need to reprioritize fundamental functions and can further initiate actions in highly visible social environmental environment to successfully improve the external legitimacy of the organization and intentionally safeguard pre-existing precedence (Nathan et al., 2015).


Hence to conclude, it is important to highlight that nine years following the 9/11 terror attacks, LEAs are facing challenges to substantially invest in CT and HS along with the long-term advantage of these investments. It further underlines the significance of buy-in form senior leadership in order to express to the rest of the unit why an investment in this area is fundamental to its overall mission. There further lies a fundamental question related to the way law enforcement agencies along with state as well as local officials will be able to understand the difference in CT and HS as well as in the fusion centres. Thus, the expansion of metrics at the crime department level could aid to purposefully quantify long-term expenses and advantages of counter-terrorism (CT) along with homeland security (HS).

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