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Within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP) is charged with coordinating first-responder terrorism-preparedness efforts and working with state and local first responders to improve terrorism preparedness. To meet its charge, DHS needs to collect information on first responders and other emergency-response providers, including the challenges first responders have confronted and how they have addressed them and their support needs. This report presents the results of a survey conducted by the RAND Corporation in 2002. It assesses how prepared state and local law enforcement agencies are for terrorism in the post-9/11 environment. The results provide DHS and ODP an important baseline for gauging where the law enforcement community stood on the eve of the formation of DHS and for assessing future progress in improving U.S. terrorism preparedness. Some conclusions of the survey: Law enforcement considers the most likely threats to be chemical, biological, or conventional-explosives attacks; although agencies updated response plans and internally reallocated resources to focus on terrorism preparedness in response to 9/11, only one out of five received external funding immediately after 9/11 to support these activities; law enforcement’s approach to preparedness varies by size of country; law enforcement’s support needs include improving assessment and response capabilities; state and local law enforcement indicated a need for better intelligence on the terrorist threat and terrorist capability; and resourcing of preparedness raises concerns about what public safety trade-offs are being made at the local level to focus on terrorism preparedness. Finally, the survey also found that law enforcement agencies that perceived the risk of a terrorist attack to be higher for their jurisdiction were more likely to undertake steps to improve their preparedness; in addition, perceived risk was also predictive of receipt of funding.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Response Experience of Law Enforcement Agencies with Terrorism

  • Chapter Three

    Preparedness Results for Law Enforcement Agencies

  • Chapter Four

    Law Enforcement’s Support Needs and How They Are Resourcing Preparedness Activities

  • Chapter Five

    Understanding the Relationship Between Risk, Size of Jurisdiction, Receipt of Funding, and Preparedness Activities

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Future Directions

  • Appendix A

    Study Methodology

  • Appendix B

    Analysis of Perceived Threat and Characteristics of Law Enforcement Agencies

The research described in this report was supported by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), and the Office for Domestic Preparedness, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and performed by RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation 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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