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    Terrorism, Law Enforcement, Policing and Training

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    How has terrorism impacted the police mission in the U.S.? What disagreements exist regarding the appropriate law enforcement behavior which fights terrorism but maintains personal liberties?
    What role does social stigma play in police ethics? Give specific examples from your reading or your experiences where social stigma played a role in either furthering police corruption or reducing it.
    Are the ethical forces behind police corruption the same as those involved in police abuses of force? Support your answer.
    Discuss individual conscience and police assignments using specific examples. How can training prepare would be police officers for the ethical dilemmas they will face?

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    Terrorism and Its Impact on Policing


    On April 19, 1995 the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was bombed by Timothy McVeigh, with the help of his con-conspirator, Terry Nichols. As a result of the bombing, the U.S. government passed legislation designed to increase the protection around federal buildings to deter future terrorist attacks. From 1995 to 2005, over 60 domestic terrorism plots were foiled due to preventive measures taken in response to the bombing. (Talley, 2006 and Blejwas, Griggs and Potok, 2005)
    On April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado two senior students massacred 12 students and a teacher and injured 24 others at Columbine High School. From this killing and others that preceded (1966 University of Texas massacre) and followed it (2007 Virginia Tech massacre) arose the debate regarding gun control laws and discussions of cliques, subcultures, bullying, violent movies and video games, gun culture, anti-depressants, violent music and teenage internet use) by teenagers, violent films and music, teenage internet use, (Brown, Janelle, 1999) and violent video games (Jenkins, 2000).

    Then on September 11, 2001, the infamous attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and the foiled destination in a field in western Pennsylvania occurred. As a result, Congress passed new rules and regulations for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and made changes in the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Scholars continue to debate whether or not these laws are constitutional, and according to Muraskin (2005) "the courts will have to separate where the fear of terrorism justifies stripping away and individual's constitutional rights. It appears that the United States Supreme Court will render the ultimate decision" (Muraskin, Rosalyn 2005).
    According to the Defense Department terrorism is "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological," (Norwitz, 2002; Howard and Sawyer, 2002); in slight contrast, the Justice Department's definition includes "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political objective (emphasis added)" (id). In its definition the Defense Department regards it as calculated and the identity of the terrorist is not relevant; however the Justice Department defines it as illegal. This empowers the FBI to take the lead when an act of terror is committed.
    In order to accomplish successful prosecution care must be given and enforcement must pass judicial scrutiny if the United States is to remain a nation of law.
    ? Amendment IV - Search and Seizure requires a search warrant that can only be obtained with probable cause.
    ? Amendment V - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings, among other things requires that a person not be forced to testify against himself, nor can he be tried twice for the same crime (so it behooves the officer to take care that the evidence will withstand scrutiny - there's no second chance), and it requires "due process."
    ? Amendment VI - Right to a Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses demands the right to a speedy trial wherein the state the crime has been committed, advised of the charges, be able to bring witnesses in his defense and has the right to have an attorney represent him
    ? Amendment XIV - Citizenship Rights requires due process and equal protection under the law.
    The Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. 1385) forbids armed forces to "execute laws upon the citizenry" (Norwitz, 2002; Howard and Sawyer, 2002). Therefore, it falls to law enforcement to play the largest role within the United States, along with coordinating and consolidating federal enforcement agencies.
    After the Laguna (California) fire in 1970, which burned 175,425 acres and killed 8 people, destroying two entire communities, the Incident Command System (ICS) was developed. "The main function of ICS is to establish a set of planning and management systems that would help the agencies responding to a disaster to work together in a coordinated a systematic approach" (Bullock, Haddow, Coppola, Ergin, Westerman and Yeletayse, 2005). Within the ICS are five major management systems including command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance. The local law enforcement, Red Cross and other local services within the community must be trained, drilled and prepared for any disaster, including a terrorist attack, and thus they will have an ongoing preparedness and planning at every level.
    Therefore, local police must be in communication with a variety of systems within the government in case of catastrophe and be thoroughly trained in observing the rights guaranteed in the Constitution when investigating and arresting suspects.


    What can go wrong? In "Mocking Constitutional Rights," Parry (2008) writes of statements made by candidate Sarah Palin mocking the now President Barack Obama for worrying that someone won't read them [terrorists] rights, implying that people suspected of being terrorists (note: "suspected") have no rights under domestic or international law. Minnesota's terrorist law is very similar to the Patriot Act, which in Section 802 defines domestic terrorism as
    activities that (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the U.S. or any state; (B) appear to be intended (i) to influence policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (ii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. . .
    While Governor Palin was giving her speech, with rousing cheers in reply, a group of demonstrators, including some with press passes, were treated brutally and arrested under the Minnesota Law. One of the comments made before the judge included "It seems that if you associate with others, particularly in public, then it's fair game for the police to trample your rights whenever they disagree with your perceived political beliefs" (RNC 8, 2010). (Even though some of those present at the demonstration prominently displayed their journalist credentials, some were brutally treated by police officers.) Perry's concern about this section of the Patriot Act is specifically Bi and the vagueness of the meaning of "intimidation" (Perry, 2008).
    "On the same day that Palin gave her speech mocking the rights of terror suspects, eight alleged leaders of an anti-authoritarian activist group called the RNC Welcoming Committee (aka 'RNC 8') were formally charged with "Conspiracy to Riot in Furtherance of Terrorism" (Perry, 2008). They have yet to have come to trial. (Recall Amendment VI - The Right to a Speedy Trial and Amendment XIV - Citizenship Rights requires due process and equal protection under the law above.) This is simply one example of how the civil liberties of the parties being arrested can be denied.
    The comments to which Governor Palin referred regarding "rights" were addressed by then candidate Senator Barack Obama. "Calling it ...

    Solution Summary

    In some detail the problem of policing when fighting terrorism and other heinous crimes are addressed. The fact of terrorism has increased the duties of police in a variety of ways. This has sometimes led to a "Dirty Harry" attitude and problems with citizens' reactions to the presumption of guilt by police. The social dilemmas of the police "family" lead to the "Thin Blue Line" and the additional problems this causes in relationships and reactions within and without the police community. Well planned, organized educational training has become a necessity in modern policing with particular emphasis on "proactive," rather than "reactive" policing.