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Regional Solutions for Enhanced Public Safety: Strengthening Terrorism Prevention and Emergency Response Capabilities

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2005
7 pages
Based on a study of 20 regional efforts to strengthen terrorism prevention and emergency response capabilities in 20 States, this report provides guidance to State and local leaders in making improvements in their terrorism prevention and emergency response policies and practices.
The Council of State Governments' 2005 study of 20 regional efforts in terrorism prevention and emergency response preparedness found similarities and differences in regions' structural characteristics, their use of existing planning efforts, authority and membership, and coordination and operational roles. The coordination that occurs at the regional level often focuses on sharing resources and information; therefore, many regional planning and coordination efforts focus on developing or improving policies for the use of these resources. Regional efforts help jurisdictions identify hazards and threats that exist outside of their boundaries. Most regional authorities are voluntary associations of local jurisdictions. They derive authority through a mix of State and local statutes, governors' executive orders, memoranda of agreement and understanding, and the participation of local elected officials and top-level executives. There are inherent challenges with any collaborative effort. A lack of authority and differing opinions about sharing information and resources are often cited as reasons that inhibit regional development and progress. State and local officials may also be reluctant to relinquish decisionmaking authority to a regional public safety structure. To address these issues and strengthen regional preparedness, additional research on the development of terrorism prevention and emergency response regions is needed to provide States with useful information on improving regional activities. Such research would help in the development and dissemination of regional planning tools. Other ways of enhancing regional improvements in public safety are the use of financial incentives and technical support and the development of professionally recognized standards for terrorism prevention and emergency preparedness at the regional level. 41 notes

Date Published: December 1, 2005