The world changed after September 11, 2001 with the terrorist attacks on both the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The concept of "homeland security" presents unique challenges to law enforcement.
Some communities and law enforcement agencies face a significantly greater terrorist threat than others do. Moreover, while most communities may not have a terrorist act, it may have terrorists living or working in it. It is incumbent that law enforcement agencies establish a level of planning and actions that address a proactive response to terrorism.
The Rolling Meadows Police Department has done much to improve prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, mitigation capabilities and coordination within the city. A comprehensive approach to incident management, applicable at all jurisdictional levels and across functional disciplines, has been created through the City of Rolling Meadows Emergency Operations Plan. The Police Department is responsible for reviewing applicable portions of the EOP that deal with Police operations and terrorism. Terrorist risk assessments are on going throughout the City based upon events occurring throughout the world. Training has been offered to private businesses covering the topics of crime prevention through environmental design (target hardening), bomb recognition, safe evacuations, and employee safety among others.
Major improvements include the implementation of escape respirators and hazardous materials suits. All department first responders have been fitted for and issued escape respirators. Police officers will often be the first to arrive at a situation that may involve weapons of mass destruction of chemicals that are potentially hazardous. Escape respirators allows the officer to safely exit the ‘hot zone’ while still maintaining control. Several hazardous materials suits have been purchased to facilitate active situations within ‘hot zones’ and evidence recovery.
Homeland Security information is available at the following web sites:www.idph.state.il.us/pdf/SurvivingDisasters.pdf