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Research Questions

  1. How are State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) Program sites selected for training?
  2. How are the trainings planned and the curricula determined?
  3. Who participates in the investigative/intelligence and train-the-trainer workshops?
  4. What are participants' views regarding these workshops, and how do they differ by type of workshop?
  5. What factors facilitate or hinder law enforcement's participation in SLATT?
  6. What behavioral changes do participants report as a result of SLATT training?
  7. What are the costs and benefits of SLATT training to participants?
  8. What insights and suggestions can be derived from the assessment to improve BJA's SLATT Program?

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) created the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) Program in 1996 to provide counterterrorism training to state, local, and tribal law enforcement personnel. The authors of this report assess the nature and value of the SLATT Program.

The authors reviewed the current terrorism threat, both foreign and domestic, to gauge the need for the type of training that SLATT provides; examined how SLATT training is planned and operates; conducted a survey of participants of five SLATT investigative/intelligence workshops and train-the-trainer workshops; and conducted an analysis of the costs and benefits of SLATT to training participants based on results of a choice experiment that was part of the survey to identify what program features participants valued most. The authors conclude with suggestions for improving BJA's SLATT Program.

Key Findings

Terrorism Threat Assessment Analysis

  • While the United States has not suffered an attack in the past 15 years as catastrophic as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, there appears to be no significant abatement of attack attempts or attack planning since 2011.
  • There is an ongoing need to ensure that state and local law enforcement receives training in this area.

Assessment of SLATT Workshops

  • A majority of trainees have counterterrorism as a major responsibility of their position.
  • Overall, 6 out of 10 workshop participants indicated that the information provided during the SLATT workshops would change their approach to international terrorist or domestic terrorist threats and/or how they might investigate them.
  • The majority of survey respondents indicated that they had participated in only one or two SLATT trainings in the past five years.

Assessment of Costs of SLATT to Law Enforcement Participants

  • SLATT workshops are offered at no cost to law enforcement, though law enforcement agencies incur some modest costs in terms of sending officers to a training and backfilling the positions of those sent, and the agencies that host the SLATT trainings incur some costs in terms of working to plan, market, and support the event.

Assessing Features and the Value of SLATT to Participants

  • Across the two types of workshop participants, participants most valued training that was three days in duration and that was less than 100 miles away.
  • Although investigative/intelligence workshop participants preferred a program with both domestic and international terrorist topics, they valued having the training include local examples of the terrorist threat in their region or jurisdiction more than the train-the-trainer workshop participants did.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Terrorism Threat

  • Chapter Three

    Planning Process for SLATT Workshops

  • Chapter Four

    Participants' Assessment of SLATT Workshops

  • Chapter Five

    SLATT's Costs and Benefits to Participants

  • Chapter Six

    Summary and Suggestions for Improving the SLATT Program

  • Appendix A

    RAND Survey of SLATT Workshop Participants

  • Appendix B

    Description of Select SLATT Program Features

  • Appendix C

    Cost and Benefit Model Statistics

The research described in this report was conducted by the Justice Policy Program within RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment.

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

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