By Steve Neavling
The FBI released a bulletin to law enforcement following the disclosure Tuesday that the CIA tortured terrorism suspects.
Here is the bulletin, written by Jeremy W. Francis:
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, law enforcement agencies engaged in the Global War on Terrorism. Police officers, along with firefighters and emergency medical personnel, were the first to respond during the largest loss of civilian life from violent acts of terrorism in America’s history. In the decade following, law enforcement leaders agreed that police departments were not as prepared as they could have been to respond to a terrorist attack.
During the initial response to an incident, no level of administration is more important than the local government. State, county, and municipal law enforcement officers will be the first to respond should an event occur. Therefore, law enforcement agencies should be better prepared today than they were before September 11.
In the author’s survey of 31 municipal and county law enforcement organizations, 41.2% of senior executives—chiefs of police and sheriffs—communicated that they are no better prepared to respond to a terrorist attack today. The majority of leaders reported that their agency’s overall readiness was average or above average; however, 22.5 percent of executives stated that their department’s ability to respond to terrorism measured below average or inadequate. This indicates that improvements are necessary to increase the preparedness posture of law enforcement agencies.
Organizational culture and challenges correlate to terrorism preparedness. One mechanism to improve preparedness in law enforcement agencies is to enhance the culture of operational readiness. When leaders apply change through the organization’s culture, the likelihood of positive results increases.
Tangible, overt, or verbally identifiable elements in an organization are called artifacts. The artifacts of law enforcement organizational culture are examined further as 1) processes— communication, planning, and training; 2) resources—spending and equipment; and 3) personnel. These are the most visible and straightforward elements to increase change in the organization.
The author’s research demonstrated that positive organizational culture improves operational preparedness. This inclination enhances an agency’s ability to respond to a terrorist attack. This occurs because organizational change through culture reduces resistance and increases readiness.
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