Although is much more difficult for larger, organized

the word terrorism has many definitions, it is simply an act of physical,
chemical or biological violence used to kill or frighten people to achieve an
objective.  When a terroristic attack
happens, not only is the target affected, but many others who are not directly
involved are as well.  According to
Homeland Security, modern terrorism began in the French Revolution during Robespierre’s
Reign of Terror and has evolved into how society views it today.  Regardless of whether it is a personal,
religious or political attack, terrorists are believed to be frustrated,
deprived, narcissistic individuals who act on these emotions.  Through news and social media, people
hundreds, or thousands, of miles away are equally affected indirectly through images
and video captured during the incident and aftermath.

            There are multiple types of terrorism.  According to the National Advisory Committee
on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals, terrorism is divided into six types:
civil disorder, political, non-political, quasi terrorism, limited political
terrorism and state terrorism.  They say
that “all types of terrorism share common characteristics of violence
perpetrated for the purpose inciting fear, harming people’s lives, and
destroying property” (Legal Dictionary. (n.d.) Retrieved Nov. & dec., 2017,
Each type uses either a single or multiple methods of violence to send a
message.  Because attacks can happen at
any given time or place, the methods used are effective for instilling terror
and uncertainty.       

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            Typically, attacks overseas affect a larger group of
people due to the availability and easier accessibility to ammunition and
explosives.  There, terror groups operate
with little fear of consequence, so they are able to form larger groups and
devise complex plans.  After an attack,
most international terrorists retreat into the shadows and prepare for their
next attack.  Since 2001, there have been
attacks in London, Brussels, Paris and Prague. Attacks happening in the United
States are different from attacks seen across the world.  Domestically, it is much more difficult for
larger, organized terror groups are established and go undetected.  Most large-scale domestic attacks are discovered
through government intelligence and technology or by a red flag when weapons of
mass destruction are assembled, purchased or shipped. With each attack, foreign
or domestic, there is something to be learned.  

            Since 2001, other terrorist attacks to take place on
American soil include the D.C. Beltway sniper killings, shootings at different
military facilities in Chattanooga, Little Rock and at Fort Hood, the Boston
Marathon bombing, Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and San Bernardino shooting
in California.  A commonality with each
of these incidents is that aside from three that were mentioned, each was
orchestrated by one person with homemade bombs and a small number of weapons.  The attack on September 11, 2001 took more
than 3,000 lives; each of these mentioned domestic attacks have resulted in the
death of no more than sixty innocent lives.

though most communities will never directly experience terror activities, preparation
for a potentially life changing, or ending, call anytime, anywhere, strength,
split-second decision making and courage are all important qualities someone in
law enforcement needs.  None are a stranger
to men and women in blue, wearing a badge and serving their community.  Officers and deputies all say, no day is
routine. Each day could offer a myriad of incidents or could be calm and quiet.
 Education and response are both
important tools for anyone in the law enforcement community and since 2001, governments
have invested numerous resources for emergency response plans.  If you were to speak to an officer, he or she may
feel like they will be prepared for what is thrown at them.  It is not uncommon for all first responders to
experience death and destruction of different magnitudes during their tenure.  There is no amount of training, life experience
or education that can prepare anyone for large tragedies and mass casualties.  During the response and recovery efforts,
there may not be time to think about the effect this event has on you until
things settle down.  The Occupational
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that “the aftermath of critical
incidents can be present in numerous ways and in varying degrees and severities”
(United States Department of Labor. (n.d.) Retrieved December 04, 2017, from  Each person deals with big events
differently.  Although most will experience
signs and symptoms of stress within the first twenty-four hours, some people
may not see signs and symptoms until days, weeks, months, or even years after.

terrorism is a fight that will continue for years to come.

Bureau of Justice Statistics says that local police officers outnumber federal
agents by a ratio of almost 10:1.  Local
officers are therefore far more likely than federal counterterrorism agents to
encounter suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism.  It also means they will be the first to
respond should an attack occur. (Nikolow, J. (2015, November 15). The Role of Local Police in the War Against
Terrorism. Retrieved from

Not only are there
different types of terrorism but there are different types of terroristic
attacks.  Some of those include: bioterrorism,
cyberterrorism, ecoterrorism, nuclear terrorism and narcoterrorism.

communities are not directly impacted by a terrorist event but because of the
potential threat, it is critical for police to play a leadership role before,
during and after any event to combat fear and ensure safety. Actively
responding to specific community questions, directing people to the appropriate
community services and having a visual presence are some ways to keep the level
of fear and uncertainty to a minimum.

2001, the USA Patriot Act was established under former President George W. Bush.
This act allows various branches of the government to research and ‘obstruct’
any person, group, or idea believed to support or advertise any domestic or
foreign terrorist attack. The goal of the Patriot Act is to ensure the safety
of the American people. Police agencies of all sizes have been training for mass
casualties since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.  In 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigations
confirms that 4,876 alleged terrorists had contacts with U.S. law enforcement,
usually for unrelated reasons. The FBI add that between 20,000 and 30,000 known
terrorists included on the Terrorist
Watchlist are in the country at any given time. Out of fifty states,
thirty-six have either been the intended target of a terrorist plot, or have
been the location where terrorists have been arrested, lived, attended college,
etc. Like the origin of terrorism, tactics and strategy for response has
evolved over time.  With each terrorist
attack, law enforcement locally, and nationally, use the incident to learn and
create new practices in the event of future attacks.  Now in 2017, police should train their staff
to defend the public while trying to anticipate an extremist’s next move.
Because today’s agencies suffer from an inadequate number of people and funding,
teamwork development through communication, stress inoculation and up-to-date
training in all areas of terrorism is fundamental to protect officers.

increased awareness for signs of terroristic Activiti added to during their
day-to-day duties, local officers will be better prepared to fight terrorism
locally. All should be trained to conduct threat assessments, identify people
who may be involved in terrorist activities and technology and information
management. Terrorists travel the same roadways local officers do. Just as
departments rely on neighborhood watches and civilian patrols to be the extra
sets of eyes and ears for their officers, it is crucial for these same officers
to act as extra eyes and ears for the various federal agencies that investigate
terrorism cases. No new skills are necessary, officers should keep an eye on
their surroundings for suspicious activity with the mentality that terrorism is
possible. Extremists will be using the same areas that local officers and
deputies patrol and will have an easier time getting access to these popular
spots compared to state or federal agencies.

should be trained to see the bigger picture. This type of training is federally
funded and available to local agencies. In this training, officers learn how to
validate a threat, information obtained and are taught about suspicious people
or activities to look out for while on patrol. Officers today need to know how
to recognized and identify signs of terrorism. There also needs to be a better cooperative
relationship with the community they serve and with state and federal agencies
so there is a cohesive plan and response when and if an attack occurs.  

deal effectively with the threat of domestic terrorism, police must be able to
manage and coordinate different sources of data and intelligence in a short
amount of time. Through data sharing, large amounts of information between local,
state and federal agencies provides a common database for all resources to
access and keep records.  An isolated
event may not be significant but if there are similar incidents in different
locations, local agencies can work together and prevent a larger attack from occurring.
Technology is also very essential for helping local law enforcement deal with threats,
from tracking extremist activity and as a tool for relaying information to the
community in a timely manner. Coordination within the community is important
during and after an event so citizens stay informed with important information,
are able to evacuate if needed and so that they know who to call with tips for
potential or occurring crimes.

a strategic plan for each method of attack, having specialized training in
disaster preparedness, allowing for officers to maintain an adequate sleep
schedule and limiting works shifts, establishing incident stress debriefings
and providing mental health resources will be beneficial for all types of
agencies during both small and large scale events. Local agencies should
perform team building exercises periodically to help officers who may be
accustomed to working alone, train to be able to work in a team setting, no
matter if the team consists of two or fifty people.  Practice will not only help build better communication
skills, it will help with individuals learning how to work together instead of what
he/she may regularly face, working alone day-to-day.

shooter training for different scenarios is also essential.  Officers need to work to master consistency in
tactical movement, weapons handling and communication in both stressful and non-stressful
situations.  Mastering these core
concepts could be the difference between life and death on the front lines at a
terroristic attack.  Stress inoculation
training for officers is beneficial as well.  Research shows that officers may freeze up or
fail to make decisions during simulated stress when overwhelmed with stimuli.  Given that not all police may be SWAT trained,
providing the opportunity for an officer to train and operate, while
experiencing a stress response in multiple environments and disciplines will
help prepare them to respond for any threat he/she may face with confidence and

in all, law enforcement are an integral part of America’s past, present and
future. To add on to their ever changing role, there is now focus on terrorism
prevention.  If an agency does not
already have a contingency plan in place for emergency response, they should adopt
one. Once a plan is in place, the agency should focus on communication and
cooperation with not only other state and federal agencies, but with the
community they serve to be more effective in preventing terrorism in their
community. A well-established relationship will help in gathering intelligence
and security since more people in the community will build trust with the
agency and may be inclined to report suspicious activity when it occurs. State
and local law enforcement need to be adequately equipped and educated to keep
their communities safe from acts of terrorism.