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State and Local Law Enforcement Technology Needs To Combat Terrorism, Volume I: Inventory of Needs

NCJ Number
D Parent; B Snyder
Date Published
153 pages
The technology needs of State and local law enforcement to address terrorism were assessed by means of 108 interviews and focus group discussions that were conducted in 1997 and that collected information from 195 police officers and others who coordinate the activities of law enforcement agencies in response to terrorist incidents.
The participants represented 138 agencies from all 50 States and the District of Columbia. The interviewers asked participants to describe the technology capabilities their agencies lacked to combat terrorism in terms of 11 functions suggested by a literature review and interviews with experts. These functions were intelligence; surveillance; command, control, and communications; site hardening and security; detection, disablement, and containment of explosive devices; defense against attacks related to computers; defense against weapons of mass destruction; apprehension and neutralization of terrorists; forensics and investigation; public information; and crowd and riot control. Participants noted training as a 12th issue. Results revealed that technology needs of police agencies are remarkably similar across the country. Agencies are often less well equipped than the potential terrorists they face. Affordability is perhaps the crucial criterion for new technology. However, many or most of the capabilities needed to address terrorism are also needed to address crime in general. The majority of technology needs correspond well with the technology development efforts undertaken by the National Institute of Justice to address law enforcement needs in general. State and local agencies understand the need for interagency and intergovernmental cooperation and are concerned about their ability to deal with weapons of mass destruction and computer-related terrorism. Discussions of specific needs, tables, photographs, map, footnotes, and appended needs tables and participant lists