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Defining Law Enforcement's Role in Protecting American Agriculture from Agroterrorism

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2005
209 pages
This study examined law enforcement's role in protecting American agriculture from international terrorists, domestic terrorists, militant animal rights groups, economic opportunists, and disgruntled employees.
Through interactive focus groups, input was obtained from law enforcement personnel, livestock producers, meat packers, truckers, feedlot managers, and animal health officials. The study also included two simulation exercises, field surveys, field interviews, and findings from prevention measures initiated in Kansas on a trial basis. Experts agree that the single greatest threat to the agricultural economy is foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), which has the potential to produce economic chaos. A FMD outbreak would likely require law enforcement officers to remain onsite for 60 days or more in order to enforce quarantines and stop-movement orders. Law enforcement's focus should be on prevention, which might include the identification of threats to the local agricultural industry, vulnerability assessment of potential agricultural targets, the development of new partnerships, the establishment of an effective intelligence network, and the development of local community policing programs for agriculture. Researchers concluded that law enforcement agencies currently lack the resources for an effective response to a FMD outbreak. The recommendations include the development of a national law enforcement strategy; Department of Homeland Security coordination and funding of prevention measures implemented by local law enforcement agencies; additional funding for interdiction of illegal meat products being smuggled into the United States; a mandatory national animal identification system; improved local intelligence on criminal threats to agriculture; community policing programs for the agriculture industry; and agroterrorism awareness training for law enforcement personnel. 25 figures, 19 tables, 96 references, and appended definitions and relevant statues (Kansas), and study instruments

Date Published: June 1, 2005