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Terrorism Deja Vu

In law enforcement we have our own generational eras (professional model, community policing model, etc). We can easily name the Pre 9-11 and Post 9-11 generations of our officers as well. However this country has grown complacent over time, we could have lost our edge in our homeland terrorism defense. For those who recall the beginning of the Post 9-11 era we were responding to calls of suspicious activities, unknown powders and I think I have a terrorist living next-door calls. We had our American flags up and we were vigilant. As time went on, our vigilance has waned somewhat, our flags have faded and some have retreated back into our comfort zone. Now Post-Boston Marathon we are paying attention again. What does the rekindling of a homeland attack again mean to police new demands on training, staff and response? For those who have retired and the seasoned officers, we know what is expected of us. For the youngest officers, they now have a learning curve. For the instructors who are now dusting off all of the lesson plans on terrorism, please update them. Although terrorism at its core is basic fear brokerage and has been that way throughout history, however in the past few years they have gotten more sophisticated and more technologically adept. They have raised their game, so should we; we owe it to our country.

Are we safe? We are safer than we were yesterday and we have to be safer tomorrow than we are today. We have improved vastly and are continuing to improve. There is no sitting on a lead and coasting, staying ahead of this is demanding work. Hollywoodcontinues to add terrorism to the blockbuster scripts for example The Expendables, Ironman, Batman and it continues. Terrorism is also in many of the gaming industry’s games which are violence simulators. A great portion of our public has become accustomed to violence and destruction which I worry it has desensitized some. So what can we now do?  

First of all, we must acknowledge that there is still a threat both global and domestic. Terrorism is universal whether a densely populated event as theBostonmarathon or some lone attack at Ft Hood, it is real everywhere. No place is immune to it and all of us are in this together. You can not be hot and cold, for they only need to be lucky once. Have you incorporated operational security (OpSec) into your mission statements, especially on your web presence?

We must remind all to be prepared not for the end of time and zombie invasion but to survive an attack and its interruption of life afterwards. For years we have severe weather week or hurricane preparedness week. Our emergency management staff needs to expand the idea of preparedness to 365 days a year. Consider the threat from all hazards, man-made (criminal terrorism) and naturally occurring (tornados, storms), not one source alone. In response to any emergency event, there are some who need our help, which is what we are here for. There are some who are clueless, ill-prepared at best and lack certain life skills to sustain their existence. We will take care of them as well but the more all of our populous learns to be self-sustaining as the situation dictates, the better we are going to be.

Commitment to the three basics of terrorism defense, Detect-Deter-Disrupt. These are basic tenets of crime prevention as well. First we must be able to detect the threat. We must observe and not look. Each and every person should be considered a reporting agent, the public and industry should be our eyes and ears to detect and report the unusual and out of place. This is their home game, their home turf for they know what is right there, not the police. All must be committed to deter terrorism. A cell out on a surveillance photo mission should know that if they are detected the public will report. They do not want to be detected; unreported suspicious activity is of no value to our homeland defense. This would only validate that we don’t care, so come attack us. To disrupt their mission in its earliest stages, police getting reports of suspicious activity may protect this target. If they are disrupted in the earliest stages of their planning, then this mission is too risky.  This to me and hopefully all us should be serious business. I do not want to see terrorism refresher training blushed over, The issue of terrorism is real in every inch of this great land of ours, nobody is too young or old not to contribute to our safety.