The federal government holds the obligation of protecting its citizens from any arising acts of terrorism. Much of this responsibility though "rests at the local level", under the jurisdiction of the "local and state agencies" on the ground (COPS, 2002). Any employment of WMD within a given locality, would first elicit the involvement of the local agencies from the departments of fire, police and rescue personnel and other concerned agencies within the area. These agencies play the key role in preventing the occurrence of such attacks and responding to such incidents (Lindfors, 2010). Prevention of terrorist attacks involve local agencies in developing terrorism response measures based on advancing "data and intelligence collection and processing", improving the ability to address such attacks by maximizing use technology and ensuring training of all response agencies as outlined by COPS (2002).
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Relevant information on appropriate public response and behavior is disseminated through right communication channels to the local community members. In case of an attack of this proportion, local agencies already have a picture on operation plan and on reacting to public fear, preparations on assisting the victims. These local agencies are the ones to take the lead in the ensuing operations with the help of other outside agencies. Giving the responsibility to the local agencies serves to make the best use of all available resources and personnel, with their full potential as outlined by the operation plan in place. Local and state law enforcement agents within the area of attack would play the role of the lead agencies in planning of the operations, coordinating all activities to ensure each group within the operation has clearly defined roles in the mission in order to avoid overlapping of duties (Ballard, 2003). In achieving this feat, many of the local law enforcement agencies have had to formulate special teams, trained in all aspects concerning WMD, in leading the countering of such adverse attacks.
A number of challenges arise in coordinating response to terrorist attacks especially any of a larger scale. Chief among the challenges involve each participating agency's defined role within the response operations especially when outside agencies are involved, eventually leading in duplication of roles. This becomes counter productive as confusion further delays the response process. At many times federal agencies take command of the scene relegating the local agencies from the command section further exacerbating complications arising from not clearly defining the roles fro each participating agencies. Another factor may involve the nature of attack and the WMDs. In countering the identified challenge in definition and assignment of roles, the operation plans must be clearly outlined and well formulated to address all arising situations. The local agencies have to be at the head of the operations, while ensuring the sharing of data and adequate flow of information to all participating groups (COPS, 2002).
The chosen hypothetical scene is set at a high school basketball. The terrorist attack involves chemical weapon of mass destruction, involving hazardous and toxic substance. There are many people at risk if the attack goes through. Among the agencies expected to respond to this attack are the local police, the fire department's section on hazardous materials, the local trained team of WMD experts, with the FBI's units including, bomb and ballistic experts, evidence technicians, firearms, crime lab and intelligence analysts (fbi.gov, 2011). These are to be involved in the concerted approach towards diffusing the effects projected to result from the biological attack and the resulting public melee (Howard et al, 2006).
The local team of trained experts on WMD is expected to take charge in coordinating all the response activities with capable experts drawn from all relevant agencies, including the local FBI units (fbi.gov, 2011). FBI units' involvement in the whole operational plan would be largely to play the role of assisting the already set team rather than leading the response operations, although this may be reversed in the case where the local team is rendered incapable due to the complexity of the situation. Another important aspect for the success of the response mission is the prior involvement of the FBI and all other Law enforcement agencies in all operation plans structured by the special team (golawenforcement.com, 2011).
The special team composed of multi agencies within the locality, is to first select suitable command area of operation and set up appropriate communication structures for relaying and sharing information with other response teams. After organizing the teams and assigning of all resulting tasks, the special WMD team is to share relevant information with other concerned outside agencies. Any lacking personnel, resource or service can be outsourced through the command channel set up by the team. The police may respond by securing the area and ensuring people do not get close to the site (Discoverpolicing.org, 2011).
The WMD team, being made up of the many agencies within the area, including the hazardous section of the fire department, will have the specified team lead the search and rescue operation. Assistance from bomb squad section and ballistic experts would ensure the status of the WMD is known to avert any further damage (fbi.gov, 2011). Chemical analysis of the weapon would be conducted at the set to obtain information on the bomb under the direction of the team, while medical practitioners provide this medical attention to the injured victims. The detectives and investigative experts would be focused on finding key evidence towards the capture of the perpetrators of the dreadful crime (Discoverpolicing.org, 2011). This is by essence the initial activity that would be undertaken as soon as the law enforcement agencies arrive at the scene, running simultaneously with the search, rescue and evacuation operations.
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