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Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the need for increased counterterrorism (CT) and homeland security (HS) efforts at the federal, state, and local levels has taken the spotlight in public safety efforts. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, many law enforcement agencies (LEAs) shifted more resources toward developing CT and HS capabilities, and the federal government continues to support these efforts with grants provided through the Department of Homeland Security. This monograph examines the long-term adjustments that large urban LEAs have made to accommodate the focus on CT and HS, as well as the advantages and challenges associated with it. The study relies primarily on in-depth case studies of five large urban LEAs, as well as a review of federal HS grant programs and a quantitative analysis of the potential costs associated with shifting law enforcement personnel from traditional policing to focus on HS and CT functions. Major trends among the five case study LEAs include the creation of specialized departments and units, as well as an increased emphasis on information-sharing, which, nationwide, has led to the creation of fusion centers that serve as formal hubs for regional information-sharing networks. LEAs' HS and CT efforts are also greatly influenced by the restrictions and requirements associated with federal HS grant funding. Finally, using cost-of-crime estimates, it is possible to partially quantify the costs associated with LEAs' shifting of personnel away from traditional crime prevention toward CT and HS — there are also clear benefits associated with law enforcement's focus on CT and HS, but they are difficult to quantify, and this is posing a challenge for LEAs as the economic downturn puts pressure on public budgets.

This project was supported the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations contained herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the U.S. Department of Justice. This research was conducted within the Safety and Justice Program of RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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