New responsibilities that American police agencies assumed since 9/11 terrorist acts

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, constituted a watershed event in the history of America, particularly for law and police enforcement. The new responsibilities had to be taken in order to prevent probable acts of terrorism in future.

One of the most immediate changes in policing after September 11 was an expansion of powers of police, which was fair in conditions of devastation of terrorism.  The ”˜Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism also known as the Patriot Act of 2001, is a federal bill meant to broaden police powers against terrorism. It easily received congressional approval in 2001. The bill places special emphasis on foreign investigative work and on the investigation of aliens engaged in terrorist activities. Civil libertarians have widely criticized the act, mostly because of the potential abuse of authority and erosion of civil liberties.

After the events on September 11 refocusing of police duties was of urgent need as well as re-alignment between federal and local policing.

Now more attention than ever before was devoted on counter-terrorist measures now devote by Federal agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has some 4,000 working on terrorism. Attorney General John D. Ashcroft announced that he wants to slash about $2.5 billion from the Justice Department programs that do not focus on terrorism to shift these funds towards counter-terrorist strategies.

A large number of different federal agencies and departments besides the FBI are sure to shift their operations towards the post-September 11 conditions. A massive reorganization of the Immigration and Naturalization Service is underway, and in the Justice Department, a new Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force is created. In the Department of State, there is a new Office of Counter-terrorism, which coordinates all US efforts to improve cooperation with foreign governments. Many local police agencies across the country are creating special counter-terrorist divisions, complemented by coordinating offices at the municipal and state levels.

Nevertheless there are some minuses in the police work after the measures taken after September 11. Nowadays other crimes besides terrorism may be on the rise as they receive less scrutiny from police now.  It makes a certain challenge to the police agencies in the USA.

In the matter of fact there are particularly strained relationships between police agencies which are involved into counter-terrorist activities. Most of so called misunderstandings happen between those agencies on the federal and local levels. It is known that local police publicly criticize the FBI. Former mayor of New York Rudolf Giuliani urged Congress to pass a law requiring federal investigators to share their information with local police. FBI Director Robert Mueller proved that some FBI agents had wrongly turned down local requests.

At the federal level, the Office of Homeland Security was established by the President by executive order, on October 8, 2001, to coordinate the national response to terrorism. Other coordinating activities are additionally planned. The U.S. State Department, for instance, plans a central training facility, the Center for Anti-Terrorism and Security Training.

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