The Role of Local Police in Homeland Security

TheRole of Local Police in Homeland Security

Roleof Local Police in Homeland Security

Inrecent years, a lot of focus has been directed on pushing for thereforms regarding the role agencies responsible for law enforcementto improve its approaches regarding protecting property and life fromvarious external and internal threats. The policy of homelandsecurity remains committedthat, locally, infrastructureprotection,coordination with federal and state agents’ extensivedevelopment of community-police relationships, and gathering ofintelligence will accelerate response and prevention of potentialcrimes (United States Government Accountability Office, 2015). Thehomeland security policy has coincided with the emergence of variousterrorist attacks in the United States, for instance, the BostonMarathon bombing incident. As a result, law enforcement agenciesadopted the policy of information sharing and integrationbetweendifferent levels of government (federal, state, municipal) as anindispensableapproach to police enforcement, orchestrated by the needto overcome coordination challenges. The Boston Marathon bombingincident that claimed the life of three people, including an 8- yearold child,served as an impetus for homeland security to startcontemplating reforms. Indeed, in response, various stepshavebeentaken by the Boston police: sharing of information and fastresponse to protect its citizens and property, and improvedcoordination between different security levels.

FourSectors of the Police Role in Homeland in Relation to Boston MarathonBombing

Theadoption of the Homeland Security Act in 2002 sets out four criticalresponsibilities of the department of homeland security police inensuring the safety of the nation. The homeland security was requiredto develop an inclusive plan that would guarantee the security ofmajor infrastructures and assets of the nation, receive, access, andanalyze both national and local sources of intelligence, evaluate andcome up with resource defensive measures and facilitate thedistribution of vital information local and state organizations

Theresponse by the Boston police to the marathon bombing and otherevents that followed has served as the best example of bettercoordination and relationships between different agencies such as thefederal, state, and local authorities, and health partners (Zetter,2016).

Receive,Access, and Analyze Both National and Local Sources of Intelligence

Terrorismis one of the serious security threats that warrant the attention ofthe criminal intelligence, safety and resilience attention. Bostonhomeland security demonstrated good faith in sharing information withFBI agents and holding joint press conferences. Despite, variouscriticisms that the proper intelligence was not enforced to preventthe bombing, the level organization and coordination had evident. Theengagement of the local community in efforts to identify the personsbehind the bombing led to the arrest of several suspects (Pelfrey,2014).

Evaluateand Come Up with Resource Defensive Measures

Typically,terrorists’ attacks are accompanied by far-reaching implications,characterized by the loss of many lives and property. For instance,in the Boston Bombing, three people died. Boston police took partensuring that various defensive mechanisms were laid to avoid theloss of lives and property. Fast negotiations with other partners onthe rescue mission agreed on measures to manage the panicking crowd.The police acted fast and secured the scene. One of the lessons isthat terrorism is one of the serious security threats that warrantthe attention of the criminal intelligence, safety and resilienceattention. In particular, intelligence-led policing is the mostappropriate technique if the U.S is to stop terrorist activitieswithin its boundaries (Zetter, 2016).Victoryfor law enforcement agencies can only be attained through asuccessful gathering of information related to security and preventattacks. Adopting investigative expertise, establishing the safety ofthe key infrastructures and increased surveillance operations areimportant factors law enforcement should consider when gatheringintelligence to prevent crimes. Intelligence teams should be made upof specialized persons with knowledge in information gathering,investigation officers of specific events, places and individuals,and groups for synthesizing and interpreting data. According toPelfrey (2014), information collection and analysis is believed to bethe best tool for preventing crime, especially terrorism. Accordingto the author, the law enforcement bodies working in different levelscan effectively stop attacks before they are committed, both outsideand inside their jurisdiction through intelligence-led policing.

Compareand Contrast Intelligence-led Policing andCommunity-orientedPolicing Strategies

Intelligencebased policing involve gathering information on plans and criminalactivities to prevent crimes. On the other hand, community policingis more of localized (grassroots) security approach anchored on therelationship between the local communities and security agents. Thetable below presents various differing strategies of local andintelligence based policing.

Intelligence based policing strategies

Community-based policing strategies

Focus on federal and state bureaucracy

Concentrate on localized programs

Initiated by the government

Locally initiated

Emphasis on the gathering of intelligence

Emphasis on building relationship with the communities

Specialized offices and operation

Department-oriented philosophy

Primarily based on the involvement of the first responder

Citizens play a vital role

Information flow is top down

Information flows is lateral

Standardized implementation

Can be implemented in any location(adaptable)

The command structure is centralized

The command structure is decentralized

Engages the use of sophisticated technologies

Embraces empowerment

Focuses on mitigation, prevention, and reaction

Targets conditions lead to crimes


Intelligence-ledpolicing focuses on security matters at state and federal governmentlevel. The federal government initiates most of the investigationthat touches on intelligence gathering. The cases under investigationare handled by specialized offices working under a top-down chain ofcommunication (Navidnia,2012).In many occasions, intelligence-led policing involves the use ofsophisticated computer technologies. Besides, the command structureis centralized.


Community-ledpolicing involves engaging communities in giving vital informationabout criminals and criminal activities. Policies are locallyinitiated with much emphasis placed on empowerment and buildingfavorable relationships between the police and the local communities.The flow of information is lateral. The policy is flexible and can beimplemented in any location. It is worth noting that in community-ledpolicing strategy, the residents are important since it facilitatesthe flow of information on intelligence and can determine the safetyof any location (Zetter, 2016).

Howthe Local Law Enforcement Agency Incorporate the Philosophies in theAdministration of their Organization

Intelligence-ledpolicing and community oriented policing are some of the bestpolicing strategies that have been applied in different scenarios infighting and preventing crime. Single Zetter, (2016) notes thatcommunity-oriented policing can be implemented to eradicate andprevent crimes because the criminals live within communities and caneasily be identified by members. Changes in behavior and suspiciousactivities such as drug abuse, which have been among the factors thatfacilitate crime, can be easily noted. Embracing both policingstrategies can ensure better relationship among the local, federal,and state leadership, as well as the capabilities to respond tocomplex incidents using intelligence-led policing.

Pre-existingrelationships between various security levels come to play whenimplementing both policies. For instance, community-based policingwill require security agents to create better relationships with thecommunities. Community leaders can only easily avail information whenthere is sufficient trust towards the security agencies. Some of themeasures that can be employed by security agents in establishing afriendly co-existence include empowering members of the community onthe need for sharing information relating to their own safety.Combined with the use of sophisticated technology that accompaniesintelligence-based policing, the community will be in a good positionto handle any form of a security threat (Pelfrey, 2014).


Inconclusion, globalization of crimes has attracted the need for thesafety agents to be more vigilant and inclusive in their efforts offighting crime. It is evident that the issue of security is one ofthe critical areas that have tested the preparedness of securityagents on their ability to prevent and fight crime in the U.S. Thesecurity requires the involvement of both the communities andsecurity personnel to facilitate the identification, arrest, andprosecution of criminals before they perpetrate a crime. The use oftechnology and pre-existing relationships in bodies of safety is alsonecessary. The responses to the case of Boston Marathon attack, whichclaimed the life of three people, including an 8- year old child,lends itself as one of the examples of the efforts the enforcementteams are taking to prevent crimes. In particular, the lawenforcement agencies adopted the policy of information sharing andintegration between different levels of government (federal, state,municipal) as an indispensable approach to police enforcement,orchestrated by the need to overcome coordination challenges.


UnitedStates Government Accountability Office. (2015). InformationSharing:DHS Should Take Steps to Encourage More Widespread use of its Programto Protect and Share. (GAO Publication-06-383). Washington, DC: U.S.Government Printing Office.

Navidnia,M (2012). SocietalSecurity.Research Institute of Strategic Studies

Pelfrey,W. V. (2014). The cycle of preparedness: Establishing a framework toprepare for terrorist attacks.

Zetter,K. (2016) Boston Bombing Investigation Exposed Successes, Failures ofSurveillance Tech.retrieved from