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Homeland Security in Small Law Enforcement Agencies: Preparedness and Proximity to Big-City Peers

NCJ Number
NIJ Journal Volume: 274 Dated: November 2014 Pages: 44-47
Date Published
November 2014
4 pages
Publication Series
This issue of the NIJ Journal reports on the methodology and findings of a survey of 810 small local law enforcement agencies (1 to 25 full-time officers) in order to determine whether they improve their level of homeland-security preparedness if they are geographically close to and interact with nearby larger-city law enforcement agencies on homeland security issues.
The survey found that small agencies that increased their interaction with nearby large-town agencies post-9/11 improved their homeland security preparedness compared to small agencies that did not engage with nearby larger agencies. Small, geographically isolated agencies were less likely than small agencies located within larger metropolitan areas to develop strong or frequent interactions with large agencies on homeland security matters. This report advises, however, that such geographically isolated small agencies can still cultivate relationships with larger police agencies to improve their homeland security preparedness, because the survey found that geographic separation did not in itself reduce homeland-security preparedness in small jurisdictions. This report further advises that policymakers, such as Federal and State legislators or those administering Federal and State agencies, can equalize the incentives for agencies of all sizes by funding task forces, partnerships, or other collaboration that promote interactions among agencies. Also, funding for equipment for large agencies could stipulate regional sharing in time of need or the donation of equipment to smaller agencies over time. In addition, this report advises that preparing for terrorism-related events improves an agency's overall preparedness for non-terrorism homeland security events.

Date Published: November 1, 2014