Lessons From 9/11: Organizational Change in the New York City and Arlington County, Va., Police DepartmentsOctober 2009
When a terrorist attack or other mass casualty incident occurs, the primary responsibility for responding to the attack falls to local law enforcement. Little is available in the way of best practices for responding to large-scale critical incidents. A study of the two law enforcement agencies that dealt most directly with the 9/11 terrorist attacks — the New York City Police Department and the Arlington County, Va., Police Department — looked at what practices the agencies had in place that enabled them to respond to the attacks; what special challenges they faced in responding to the attacks; and what changes in organization, training, and policies and procedures they implemented in the aftermath of the attacks to improve their ability to prevent, anticipate and coordinate their response to terrorist and other critical incidents. This Research for Practice summarizes the study findings and presents the implications of the agencies’ experience for law enforcement.