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Minimizing the Nuclear Threat: A Local Law Enforcement Strategy

NCJ Number
THE POLICE CHIEF Volume: 75 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2008 Pages: 48,50,52,54,55,57,59
Al Goodwyn
Date Published
February 2008
8 pages
This article describes how the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security networks with State and local law enforcement agencies in order to prepare them to detect and respond to nuclear or radiological terrorist attacks.
One of DNDO's responsibilities is to provide immediate operational support at no cost to first-responder agencies through the Joint Analysis Center (JAC). The JAC is an operations center accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It provides State and local law enforcement agencies, including fusion centers, with technical and operational support related to radiation detection and radiation alarm adjudication. DNDO support for local law enforcement agencies includes providing radiation-detection training and assistance with grant funding applications for radiation detection equipment. Such equipment is already being used in routine patrol, commercial vehicle inspections, maritime small-craft inspections, and special-events security. The DNDO conducts research and development on improved detection and communication capabilities. Significant research findings are then shared with State and local law enforcement and other public safety agencies. DNDO also monitors radiation detector use, establishes detection standards, develops response protocols, and provides training that ensures detection leads to rapid interdiction. In addition to describing DNDO's work in providing technical assistance and information sharing with State and local law enforcement agencies, this article also describes the characteristics of a nuclear weapon and a radiological dispersal device and their capacities to cause catastrophic, long-term damage desired by terrorists.