How Police Departments' Post-9/11 Focus on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Has Affected Their Capacity to Fight Crime

RAND Congressional Briefing Series


Lois M. Davis

Senior Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation

Immediately after 9/11, many law enforcement agencies, with the support of grants from the Department of Homeland Security, shifted resources internally in an effort to develop counterterrorism and homeland security capabilities. However, ten years out from 9/11, that shift of resources toward homeland security is posing a challenge for local police departments, which must now make tough funding choices between homeland security and crime-fighting as the economic downturn puts pressure on public budgets. What adjustments have law enforcement agencies made and how has this shift impacted their capacity to fight crime?

This briefing focuses on

  • adjustments made by urban law enforcement agencies to strengthen their counterterrorism and homeland security capabilities
  • the evolving role of fusion centers
  • the impact of regionalized preparedness funding on law enforcement, and
  • the shift from traditional crime prevention roles to counterterrorism and homeland security roles and the need for detailed analyses of costs and benefits associated with this shift.

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