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Learning From 9/11: Organizational Change in the New York City and Arlington County, Va., Police Departments

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2009
32 pages
This report is a summary of a federally funded research project on lessons learned and organizational change experienced within New York City and Arlington County, VA police departments following the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks.
Following the individually presented case studies of New York City and Arlington County, VA police departments researchers found that (1) proactive intelligence gathering within the community about terrorist threats and sharing that information within and among agencies are key to presenting a response to terrorist attacks, (2) counterterrorism policing is the same as crime policing, (3) the first priority in responding to a terrorist attack is to save lives, including first responders, (4) both departments have greatly expanded counterterrorism training at all levels and have integrated the training into traditional police training exercises, and (5) setting up a media relations plan is essential to get accurate information out to both family members of victims and the general public to control rumors and prevent the spread of misinformation and ensure that the presence of media does not interfere with evacuation and rescue efforts and traffic control. Little research exists in the way of "best practices" to help agencies prepare for and manage an incident such as the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) awarded a grant to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to conduct case studies of the New York City and Arlington County, VA police departments; the two law enforcement agencies most directly involved in the attacks and offering best practices for responding to future incidents. This report is a summary of this research project. Notes and references

Date Published: October 1, 2009