Inventory of State and Local Law Enforcement Technology Needs to Combat Terrorism   [open pdf - 94KB]

Recent acts of terrorism within the United States, such as the bombings of the World Trade Center in New York City and Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, have focused attention on the ability of law enforcement to manage these incidents and investigate individuals and groups suspected of planning or executing terrorist acts. Of particular concern is the gap between technologies available to and used by law enforcement, especially State and local agencies, and the advanced technologies used by persons and groups planning terrorist acts. To improve the ability of law enforcement agencies to fight terrorism, Congress enacted the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The Act charged the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) with the task of determining what technologies are needed by State and local law enforcement agencies to combat terrorism. To fulfill this task, NIJ sponsored a survey of State and local law enforcement officials and representatives of other groups that could be involved in preventing and managing terrorist attacks. The project was to be carried out in two phases: Phase one involved an inventory of the technology needs of State and local law enforcement, with respondents from all 50 States and the District of Columbia, while Phase two will involve analyses of those needs to determine whether existing or developing technology can fulfill them or whether new technologies are required. This Research in Brief presents findings from Phase I of the project, identifying the most frequently mentioned needs as well as issues related to fulfilling them.

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