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date: 18 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The problem of terrorism has raised a host of questions about how police should respond to the new threat, foremost of which is this: What is the responsibility of the police for countering terrorism? The police are the largest component of the network of homeland security guardians, serving not only as first responders, but also as agents of surveillance and bridge-building to communities suspected of contributing disproportionately to terrorism. But terrorism is not the predominant problem confronting the police in jurisdictions throughout the land, even in New York and Washington, DC, where the threat has been and will continue to be especially significant. What principles can help to embed the responsibilities of local police for counterterrorism within the larger mandate of police in most jurisdictions? Is contemporary policing in line with those principles? If not, should it change to be more supportive of national security? How? This essay addresses these questions.

Keywords: terrorism, counterterrorism, homeland security, war on terrorism, community policing, legitimacy, routine activities theory, militarization of police

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