Posted: October 17th, 2013










The Impact of Terrorism on the Police Mission

Terrorists attacks in the U.S have made a significant different in many departments of the federal. The security department is the most affected. The police department in specific has had to come up with several policies and make a few changes in order to make the significant impact. Concerning the police mission, they are now more careful and more analytical in every case or suspicion they handle (The Council of State Governemnts, 2005). They are no longer only analytical with the immigrants only, but now they are also analytical on the citizens. This is because some attacks have been made by the U.S citizens.

To the police, every body is a suspect and capable of either carrying out or facilitating a terrorist attack. Although the terrorist attacks are more serious than the local deaths as they lead to more deaths and casualties, the crimes performed in the neighborhood or locally are taking longer to solve. The police are paying too much attention to the big crimes and overlooking some things that lead to the small crimes.

Unlike in the past decades, today, special units have been set aside to specialize in terrorist activities, which include terrorist, groups, threats and those countries that are hosts to terrorist groups such as the Middle East countries (Bayley & Perito, 2010). Nowadays, the police department has put it upon itself to monitor the immigrants more critically than before. The monitoring is more critical on the immigrants from the Arab countries or countries that are considered a threat to the U.S.

The police mission is to protect all the people of the United States. For this case, there are security issues that have been emphasized as compared to other issues especially after the 9/11 attack. There are more security check-ups, more scrutiny on immigrants and through follow-up on the slightest suspicion of any terrorist threat or activity.

Appropriate Law Enforcement Behavior

The immigration policy is one of the most prominent arguments relating to the terrorism issues in the United States. The disagreements concern the extent at which the immigrants’ privacy and activities should be monitored. The president argues that the immigrants should be given the same freedom and treatment as the other American citizens, while the other opposing parties argue that there should be stricter policies governing immigration and the immigrants. These include limiting the number of immigrants who are being granted the American citizenship, putting more security at the borders, more scrutiny and vetting at the American embassies before people are given visas to come to the United States amongst other policies ad regulations (Bayley & Perito, 2010).

It is true that some precautions and regulations interfere with the people’s liberty. For example, the American streets, roads and buildings are filled with cameras. Although it is a protection measure, there are those who argue that too many cameras are interfering with the people’s privacy. In other cases, the concerned federal authorities in charge of security listen to the phone conversations, read the emails and text messages of the people. These extreme measures are more applied on the immigrants who are from the countries hosting terrorist organizations and those being suspected of engaging in suspicious activities.

Since the 9/11 attack, stricter measures have been taken (Schulhofer, 2002). However, there are those who argue that these strict measures are affecting particular groups as compared to all the people. Immigrations policies are stricter, limiting the level of legal migration as much as they can, in order to lower the risk of terrorists entering the country. The strict monitoring of the borders and the limiting the level of legal immigration is beneficial. However, these policies should not interfere with the privacy and the liberty of the people of America. This is what the president is putting across.

Social Stigma and Police Ethics

The social stigma on immigrants from the Arab countries or the people of the Muslim religion has made the police department more careful of their ethical conduct especially after the 9/11 attack (Schulhofer, 2002). Although the police may be tempted to suspect any person from Muslim countries thus being more critical with them as compared to the other countries, it is unethical for them to have legally acceptable reasons when conducting any surveillance or for invading any form of their privacy.

There is also a social stigma on the immigrants especially with the ongoing debates concerning the level of legal migration that should be allowed. This area touches on the ethical values of the people. It is ethically required of the police to treat all people, no matter the background, origin, gender or race, in line with their rights, even though they have enough evidence connecting them with a particular criminal act. It is also required of them to follow the right procedures when follow up on a lead concerning a terrorist activity or a suspect (Bayley & Perito, 2010).

Social stigma has played a role in reducing police corruption. For example, any suspicion of any terrorist activity is being taken seriously as compared to the previous years. In the past, one had to have concrete evidence before any suspected terrorist activity was given the concentration it deserves (The Council of state Governments, 2005). The checks in the airports, train stations and other transport stations were on as severe as it is today. Police were not as careful as they are today. All the immigrants are being fully searched despite their country of origin.

Ethical Forces and Police Corruption

The ethical forces behind the police corruption are not different with the ethical forces behind the use of police force. The ethical forces concerning police corruption are a matter of how the police conduct themselves. Similarly, the ethical forces behind police force concern the police treatment of the public. Both ways concern the public. For example, the police are required to treat every situation with the seriousness it deserves. The police are asked not to accept any bribes or tokens form the public as a way of motivating them to act. This ethical force requires them to follow the right procedures whether they are dealing with a terrorism case or a case concerning the local crimes (Bayley & Perito, 2010). If a member of the public comes in with a claim that he/she has been molested and then another member comes in with a claim that he/she is suspecting a terrorist activity, both cases should be attended. Leaving one case unattended and putting all the concentration on the other is not in line with ethical forces. However, the suspicion on terrorist activity may be allocated more resources as compared to the former.

Individual Conscience and Police Assignments

Police are people who have a conscience just like the rest of the public. Like any other people, they are tempted to act in accordance with their conscience. However, this is against their ethical and professional requirements. For example, they are cannot just start searching someone (invading privacy) because they ‘feel’ that something is not right. They must have tangible evidence. A police officer cannot stop a Muslim citizen or an immigrant from an Arab country because they suspect that he is engaging in terrorism activity. There must be evidence to prove this ‘feeling’ (Bayley & Perito, 2010).

The individual conscience should not interfere with a police officer’s assignment. The right procedures should be followed and when any arrests or searches are made. This is despite the fact that a police officer may have a few ‘hunches’, connecting the suspect with the activities (Schulhofer, 2002). If they are not legally acceptable, the police officer cannot act entirely on the conscience. However, a police officer can follow up on a lead or a suspicion without interfering with the rights of the individual. If the police find legal reasons warranting of other extreme measures, then they can be taken.

Police training on Ethical Dilemmas

Police encounter and will continue to encounter ethical dilemmas in the field or in their assignment. This is because there are situations that come where one needs to take either of the extreme measure. If a one fails to know hoe to handle an ethical dilemma when in training, it might harder for the individual to handle it when he/she comes across such a situation.

It is therefore significant ethical dilemma training be done before one is released to take up the real life assignments. This can be done by preparing the officers that they will come across cases where they have to choose between bad and good (Bayley & Perito, 2010). For example, one might come across a situation where he/she has to shoot a relative, friend, or close family member in order to save victims of a perpetrator. This is if the family member or the relative is the perpetrator.

In many cases, people in the police department may be forced to make many sacrifices. Sometimes, these sacrifices involve choosing the public over ones family. It also involves risking the life of one in order to save many. Although this is easier when being theoretically taught than when one practically experiences it, the training prepares the officers psychologically. It is also good for the department to have professional councilors or psychologists so that these officers are well taken care of when such situations come up (Bailey & Perito, 2010).





Bayley, D. H., & Perito, R. (2010). The police in war: Fighting insurgency, terrorism, and violent crime. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Schulhofer, S. J. (2002). The enemy within: Intelligence gathering, law enforcement, and civil liberties in the wake of September 11. New York: Century Foundation Press.

The Council of State Governments. (2005). The Impact of Terrorism on State Law Enforcement. Eastern Kentucky University, April.

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