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Homeland Security in Small Law Enforcement Jurisdictions:Preparedness, Efficacy, and Proximity to Big-City Peers

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $58,561)

The project is designed to contribute to the homeland security literature by examining terrorism-related preparedness within a sample of small (24 or fewer FT sworn officers) municipal law enforcement agencies. In addition, the study will focus on organizational efficacy, which is the belief that the organization can successfully respond in the event of a homeland security emergency. Of great importance, however, is whether preparedness and perceived efficacy are related to proximity to big city peers (agencies with 250 or more full-time sworn officers). Do small agencies located within close geographic proximity to large urban peers reap training, resource, and other benefits compared to small rural agencies? Does geographic isolation result in variation in perceived risk, efficacy, and/or preparedness? Do all small agencies, regardless of location, mimic the practices of big-city peers? A model of both preparedness and perceived efficacy will be tested; both are hypothesized to be shaped by perceptions of terrorism-related risk, resource acquisition, organizational characteristics (e.g., agency size), and participation in the larger institutional environment (e.g., reading journals, attending conferences), and interaction with and proximity to big-city peers. These empirical questions will be answered by surveying a national sample of small municipal law enforcement agency executives (n=800, stratified along a metropolitan/non-metropolitan continuum). The proposed research will contribute to the current body of literature by situating preparedness and efficacy within a theoretical framework, something largely absent in existing studies of homeland security prevention and response. Second, the research addresses preparedness outcomes - perceived organizational efficacy- in order to examine perceptions of capacity to respond to terrorist incidents. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 15, 2010