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Adjusting to Terrorism Essay

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Updated: Mar 29th, 2022

Terrorism is one of the biggest security threats in America. Events in the recent past have forced the United States Department of Homeland Security as well as other government agencies to change the way counterterrorism is approached. More specifically the roles of security agencies have been thoroughly scrutinized. The new approach see the police as one of the central not only in response to terrorism threat but also prevent any occurrence such criminal acts. Because traditionally the police are mere responder, the new approach trains them to be more then that be preventers of terrorism activities this is attained through the SAR program. However Coordinating and incorporating SAR program by the department of homeland security faces a myriad of challenges since there is no mechanism to facilitate such. There is therefore a need for urgent changes in the department to help fight terrorism effectively.

The United States criminal justice system has attempted several measures to reduce the occurrence of crime. This includes equipping the police, the FBI and other agencies that deal with crime. Despite all these crucial departments of the justice system playing crucial roles on the fight against crime especially terrorism, their efforts have been uncoordinated (Peak, 2010). The police have traditionally played the role of first responders, a role even though crucial, did not help to combat terrorism effectively. As such there was need to turn police from mere responders to active preventers of terrorism. To enable the police to play this role The Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) program was established. Within the SAR program police officer are actively involved in preventing of terrorism by detecting behaviors and activities that might lead to terrorism. These activities are carefully and thoroughly vetted to ensure that they meet certain standards before any action is undertaken. All activities are coded and stored thus making it easy to track them by exact date and time they occurred. This enables the police to track and link certain behaviors and activities and thus provide a clear picture on emerging trends in terrorism. Even though SAR is the brain child of the LAPD it has gained national appeal through Nation-wide SAR Initiative (NSI) (McNamara, 2009).

In the US, the Department of Homeland Security is the primary body that deals with all matters of homeland security, including the prevention of terrorism (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2011). However, the departments Intelligence & Analysis office does not have the appropriate mechanism for integrating all reports from the police as well as any other report of terrorism generated by other local, State and federal security agencies. This hinders the successful incorporation of SAR reports into enhancing The Department of Homeland Security efficiency in preventing terrorism (McNamara, 2009). Therefore, there is need to incorporate certain changes within this department

To address this shortcoming, the department needs an efficient information sharing mechanism. This will be inform of a decentralized IT based system through which all agencies can share and access valuable information on terrorism. The benefits of such as system is that it will help the department to conduct searches and electronic analyses of any behavior that is deemed as predictive, making it easy not only to share information but also track individual portraying such behaviors (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010).

Implementing such a program requires a number of resources. To begin with there needs to have the right personnel trained to use the system. As such the department will hire and train personnel on electronic data coding, input, interpretation, electronic analyses and other issues such as maintenance of confidentiality with such data. Training will be mostly conducted by hired software engineers. Doing this requires enormous amounts of money. As such the federal government through its supplementary budget on security should be able to cover the entire cost of the project. Furthermore, the project needs to have the relevant support from the relevant authorities such as The Executive, The Senate and the Supreme Court. These authorities are effectively represented in such legal bindings as the Homeland Security Act 2002, Executive Order 13388 among others (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2010). With these resources in place the department will thus be able to put in place a mechanism of sharing and incorporating SARs from not only the police but also all security agencies.

The role of the police in counter terrorism has become increasingly important. Latest security trends demand that security agencies, including the police act as preventers rather than responders to crime. In this regard the LAPD has developed SAR program, which requires officer to note suspicious behavior and activities that will assist in preventing terrorism. Even though SAR is a brilliant idea on counter terrorism it effectiveness at the national level is wanting. This is because there lacks a mechanism through which all reports from all security agencies can be incorporated in fighting terrorism; this is where a shared information sharing platform is actualized. Such a system will not only help the department of homeland security analyze locally generated data but also help the all security agencies to pool all their information together. Such a system is useful to counterterrorism as it will act as a coordinating platform through which all counterterrorism activities are managed. Such a shortcoming may have dire security implications on the entire nation. As such, the department needs to address it as a matter of agency.

Reference List

McNamara, J. (2009). Testimony of Joan T. McNamara Assistant Commanding Officer Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau

Los Angeles Police Department Suspicious Activity Reporting: Subcommittee on the intelligence, information sharing and terrorism risk assessment. Web.

Peak, K. (2010). Justice Administration: Police, Courts, and Corrections Management (6th edition). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2010). Privacy impact assessment for the Department of Homeland Security information sharing environment Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative. Web.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2011). Counter terrorism. Web.

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