Police & Firefighting Policies Since Research Paper
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If the worst case scenarios should ever unfold and terrorists have released materials into the air that are radioactive, the SOD works with the New York City's Department of Health so that officers have proper training in the use of air-monitoring "meters" (Holden, p. 5).
New York City's Department of Health has in place a program called "Biowatch" that is designed to alert the SOD when any calls come in reporting the presence of a biological substance. As mentioned previously in this paper, during the crisis of September 11, 2001, one of the major obstacles to effective first responder action was the breakdown in communication technologies and in lines of authority. However the NYPD's Operations Division (OD) is now trained to be the communications link between the executive command and the police officer on the street. The OD coordinates all personnel specifics and directions; in fact the OD is referred to as the division that "acts as the information hub of the NYPD" during an emergency, Holden explains on page 6 of the report.
Holden goes on to point to the responsibilities of the OD: a) the OD offers 24-hour-a-day monitoring of any and all "major incidents" in the city, like major crimes and building collapses; b) the OD follows and records all "officer-related information" that is pertinent to the incident; c) all personnel assignments related to events in the city are coordinated through the OD; d) if there are requests for additional police presence "during scheduled and unscheduled events" the OD makes the decision as to how to respond; and e) the OD coordinates the movements of all on-duty personnel throughout the eight borough task forces (Holden, p. 6).
In addition to the new alignments and policies and strategies in the NYPD subsequent to 9-11, police commissioner Kelly has worked hard to "incorporate a counterterrorism philosophy throughout the department," Holden explains on page 7 of the report. Kelly's post-9-11 philosophy is "…thinking about the unthinkable -- what a few years ago was the unthinkable." Kelly also emphasizes the fact that counterterrorism police work is "the same as crime policing"; he makes this point because terrorist groups often fund their activities through the commission of "traditional crimes" and hence, "good police work will uncover terrorist groups and their plans" (Holden, p. 7).
New First Responder Policies / Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County, Virginia is the smallest county in area (26 square miles) in the U.S., and yet its safety is vitally important to the nation because it is "directly across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C." And many key U.S. government offices are in Arlington County. The Pentagon is located in Arlington County of course, and was severely damaged on September 11, 2001; there was also a significant loss of life during the attack on the Pentagon. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) has subsequently upgraded its police and fire services and has identified "120 targets" that are considered likely "targets for a terrorist attack" (Holden, p. 12). Among those targets are "numerous government agencies and installations" like Reagan National Airport, subway stations, bridges into Washington, offices of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Holden explains (p. 12).
Following the attacks of 9-11 the ACPD has been teaching "the incident command philosophy" at all levels of the department; that philosophy is basically "…anyone who responds may have to take charge of an incident," according to Holden p. 12). Certainly a call for help must go out immediately when an officer in the ACPD witnesses a crisis-level event, or any suspicious event that could be related to terrorism. However, there are immediate steps that must be taken by any officer of the ACPD, and those steps including seizing control of authority prior to help arriving. Those steps are specifically spelled out on a card that all officers carry with them that has been produced by the ACPD Incident Command System (ICS). The steps have been reviewed over and over during terrorist training exercises; among the steps that are most important is the requirement that the officer on the scene notify the hospitals in the region if there is any indication that a potential biological or chemical attack has been launched (Holden, p. 13).
In addition, because communication systems tend to get overloaded during an emergency, ACPD officers have been trained to punch in a specific security code on their telephones that assures "seamless communication in an
attack or other critical incident" (Holden, p. 13). And even though federal security officials have ultimate jurisdiction over the Pentagon, since September 11, 2001 ACPD officials have forged new and closer ties with federal agencies, notably the FBI. Indeed, since 9-11, an updated agreement between the FBI and the ACPD "…allows the ACPD to have concurrent jurisdiction on Pentagon grounds (outside the building) for criminal and traffic concerns, if necessary" (Holden, p. 14).
Police and Security Upgrades Since 9-11 in Colorado
According to an article in the Denver Post (Finley, 2005), security preparedness (and equipment needed to provide security for citizens) has been upgraded in Colorado since 9-11. In fact Colorado received $136 million of federal money after 9-11, money that has been used to purchase "radios, respirators and night-vision goggles," Finley explains. The funds from the federal government have also been used to support "multi-agency training drills that many security experts believe are most useful in developing sustainable public protection against terrorism" (Finley, p. 1). The drills that Finley mentions in his article include urban rooftop "hostage-rescue work" involving the use of helicopters and exercises that respond to potential "hazardous-materials" exposure in the "hinterlands" of Colorado.
Moreover, greater coordination between law enforcement agencies has taken place in Colorado, Finley writes; for example, the U.S. attorney's office and the regional FBI headquarters (located in Colorado) have been conducting training and information sessions with local authorities "more frequently." FBI spokesperson Monique Kelso told reporter Finley, "We are a lot more snapped into local agencies"; meanwhile Bill Leone, acting U.S. attorney for Colorado, told Finley, "I really do believe our readiness level is much higher now than it was prior to 9-11" (p. 1).
As an example of Colorado's upgraded vigilance vis-a-vis a potential terrorist attack, within minutes after terrorists attacked the London subway system (July 7, 2005) the Colorado Emergency Management Association's head, John Dombaugh send out an email "urging police across six counties to watch for anything or anybody suspicious hanging around railways" (Finley, p. 1). Granted, it's a stretch to believe that a terrorist event in England could be even remotely linked to a similar attack in Colorado; nevertheless vigilance and preparedness must come into play no matter the seeming remoteness of an attack. The coordination that was implemented in Colorado on that day was made smoother by the fact that the federal money had purchased new high-tech radios for law enforcement to stay connected with.
Intelligence analysts in Colorado's FBI headquarters "labored at their task of connecting the dots" from "disparate bits of intelligence" via their computer screens, Finley continues. Lt. Commander Sean Kelly of the U.S. Homeland Security agency and coordinator for nationwide homeland defense asked, "Can you really step up vigilance? If you are really are vigilant, can you be more vigilant? We are always working on those things" (Finley, p. 1).
Police Alertness in Bergen County, New Jersey
In Bergen County, NJ, local police have made significant changes in the way they approach terrorism threats, but "unless you look closely, you'd hardly notice," writes Jason Tsai in the Record (Tsai, 2007). Among the police upgrades that are not visible to the community are new strategies outlined in training manuals and computer systems. The computer software upgrades include "map-based tracking software" that can "instantly locate rail cars and identify their freight," Tsai explains. Also, the police not have "smart" cameras that can "automatically spot suspicious-looking packages," Tsai continues.
However, the most significant improvements to law enforcement in Bergen County have been the much-improved inter-agency communication. "Communication was ad-hoc" on the day of 9-11, said Bergen County's counterterrorism coordinator Gina I. Garguilo. "You had all these agencies talking and operating on different frequencies" and there was little or no coordination, Garguilo explained. As a result, several emergency services departments "rushed on their own" towards the World Trade Center "without any coordination" at all (Tsai, p. 1). That won't happen again, according to Tsai's article. From the federal level down to local police resources, authorities "…talk with one another through bulletins and databases that previously didn't exist," Tsai goes on.
There is today a 67,000-square-foot operations center in West Trenton, NJ; the operations center sends "daily crime notifications" to city police from a state police database. The operations staff has been training local fire and police departments in New Jersey to use "uniform language when dealing with fire and EMS officers" (Tsai, p. 1). Butler Police Chief Edward Card remembers that when police used to say "…tactical operations center" in any rescue…
Sources Used in Documents:
Dunn, Vincent. (2004). Three Years Later -- What Has Changed Since 9/11/01. Retrieved July
8, 2010, from http://www.vincentdunn.com/Changes-9-11-04.pdf.
Finley, Bruce. (2005). Alerts Go Out, Statewide System Falls in Line. The Denver Post.
Retrieved July 9, 2010, from General OneFile / Galegroup.com.
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