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Homeland Defense, which is usually abbreviated as HD, is the protection of the United States territory and sovereignty as well as the people of the country and crucial infrastructures from external threats and attacks. Most people tend to confuse Homeland defense and Homeland security, which is actually an umbrella term for all the efforts to defend the states from acts of terrorism. The government of the United States has established departments and agencies, which are mandated with Homeland security. Together with military forces, they work to protect the country from external invasion by terrorists.

However, to enhance this role of Homeland defense, federal, state and local policing agencies have also started contributing in various ways towards combating of terrorism. People have witnessed major terrorism plots being uncovered and interdicted by these national security-policing agencies. Terrorism suspects have been apprehended, as well as dangerous supplies and materials like bombs and grenades, not to mention the unlimited sharing of information with agencies, whose core mandate is to deal with terrorists, like the department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Most of the National security agencies are in one way or the other incorporating Homeland defense strategies in the familiar law enforcement techniques to keep the United States of America safe from terrorism activities. The issue of Homeland defense has become everyone’s concern due to the need to deal with the increasing number of acts of terrorism. This paper researches into three different law enforcement agencies and their involvement in Homeland defense. One specific agency is chosen for each of the Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies in the United States of America and researched on its role in the Homeland security. The chosen agencies include the United States Secrete Service, the New Jersey Transit Police department and the New York Police department respectively.

The analysis of these Agencies will look into how they balance between National Security agenda and Homeland defense involvement. The research also extends to make the agencies well-understood in terms of their jurisdiction, size and missions comparing their core values with those of the Saint Leo University.

The Core Values of Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University was the first Florida Catholic University and the institution’s intentions are to transform the young to be competent professionals, who are very creative and innovative. The University’s vision and mission encompasses being excellent in providing missionary and transforming education, which produces human resources imbued with the spirit of Christianity and motivated by creativity and innovation (Core values at Saint Leo: The first Florida catholic university, 2012). It is also a major objective of the Institution to make young people socially involved extensively in all aspects of their life. This is depicted by the University policy of encouraging freshmen to enroll in the University 101 classes, which are composed of around 20 students to help each other in both out and in-classroom activities to ensure the smooth transition into the campus environment. The intention is to make students well-connected to the Saint Leo University community.

Among the University’s core values are:

  • Excellence – Saint Leo University strives to ensure that everybody, individually and collectively, achieves excellence in what they do. Their success is dependent on dedication to their mission statement as well as their visions and goals.
  • Community – the University also works hard to provide a hospitable catholic learning environment where students live together as a community. They encourage sharing of information and ideas to help each other learn.
  • Respect – the University also upholds individual respect of their unique talents and dignity as the Christian faith requires. Irrespective of the pronounced diversity of people o the campus, they co-exist harmoniously.
  • Responsible stewardship – the Christian faith stresses that God gives us different resource and expects us to serve the others with them. This makes us be agents in fulfilling God’s wishes and it is the University’s agenda to be very responsible in fulfilling their call.
  • Integrity – the University is committed to delivering its promise to students and other stakeholders as well as living up to its mission statement. The entire community, faculty, staff and students’ body pledges to uphold honesty and justices to make the university an institution of integrity.

The United States Secret Service

One of the United States federal law enforcement agencies is the Secret Service, which is part of the Department of homeland security. This agency is usually associated with only protecting the President, but the truth is that that is just one of their responsibilities. The United States Secret Service (USSS) was, however, under the Department of Treasury for a very long time, since its establishment until March 1, 2003. This happened because their major role was in the treasury other than protection.

The Secret Service was formed in 1865 by the President Abraham Lincoln after it was reported that approximately one third of all the United States currency in circulation was counterfeit. Their main responsibility back then was suppressing this problem, and as the result they were placed under the Department of treasury. With the assassination of the President Abraham Lincoln while still going through the legislation forming the Secret Service Division, the government moved in fast to ensure it was a success. By then the United States lacked federal agencies with the manpower to investigate all the crimes, and therefore the Secret Service Division had no choice but to chip in and investigate all crimes from bank robbery to illegal gambling and even murder. However, following the President William McKinley’s assassination in the year 1901, the Secret Service was requested to also provide protection to the President.

The Secret Service Roles

Today the United States Secret Service has evolved to be under the jurisdiction of United States Department of Homeland Security with about one hundred and thirty six field offices and over four thousand and four hundred sworn members. The agency spends over one and half billion dollars in ensuring proper execution of its today’s roles which include:

I. The treasury role of preventing and investigating any kind of currency counterfeiting, faking of treasury securities as well as other major frauds.

II. According to Reese, (2012), the protective roles are:

  • Protecting the President of the United States, Vice President or the next officer in order of succession should his position be vacant as well as the President and Vice Presidents elects;
  • The above mentioned individuals’ immediate families;
  • Former presidents and their spouses up to a period of ten years since leaving the office. The spouse cannot get Secret Service protection after divorcing or remarrying;
  • Widows or widowers of a President who dies within one year after leaving office for a period of not less than a year;
  • The children of retired Presidents until they attain the age of 16 or after 10 years of their parent not being in office, whichever comes first;
  • Retired Vice presidents, as well as their spouses and children below 16 years for at least half a year after leaving office;
  • Other Heads of States or Presidents and their spouses visiting the United States of America, plus any other distinguished visitor;
  • Major presidential candidates and their spouses as well as vice presidential candidates and their spouses for one hundred and twenty days to the general election.
  • Any other executive according to the order of the President of the United States.

The Secret Service Values

The United States Secret Service mission statement is to safeguard the country’s monetary infrastructure and other systems of payment to restore and protect the integrity of the United States economy (The United States Secret Service, 2010). They also protect the countries major leaders, distinguished visitors, as well as specific sites and events. Their vision is to uphold the culture of excellence in their investigations and protection activities through dedication, training and collaborating with other agencies. Their agents employ the most current technologies to make their work as efficient as possible and highly professional in their duties.

The United States Secret Service core values have so much in common with the Saint Leo University’s values. Both organizations put excellence first in their delivery of services. They wish to cultivate a reputation in the quality of their services, especially when compared with other institutions or agencies in their line of services. The Secret Service also wishes to uphold integrity in the United States economy just like the University wishes to uphold integrity in the entire fraternity. This law enforcement agency also values training to enhance professionalism among the sworn members. Coincidentally, the university also strives to produce a workforce characterized by competence and professionalism. Both organizations work hard to be responsible stewards in accomplishing their principles agenda. They also encourage sharing of information with other stakeholders to improve the quality of the services they offer.

Homeland Security Involvement

In the nature of the job of the United States Secret Service, the agency investigates numerous cases of threats to the President of the United States every year, which is by itself a terrorism combating mission. This agency deals directly with stopping terrorism by investigating any kind of terrorism plans and stopping them before they are hatched. This way the agency strives to be proactive in all its activities to ensure that they are always a step ahead of the terrorist organizations. For instance, the Secret Service played a key role in the capturing and killing of Osama Bin Laden, a terrorist who for a very time remained a threat to the United States National Security. The Secret Service still provides crucial assistance in combating the al-Qaeda activities within the country. Following the death of the terrorism group’s leader, Osama Bin Laden, the group is now feared to retaliate by using suicide bombers especially with the new technique of implanting explosives in human bodies. This has made both the European and the United States’ Secret Services be on a very high alert for such threats. The United States bound aircrafts to have now stepped up their security measures in all the international airports, especially in Europe and the Middle East with the Secret Service working close with the airports securities to ensure that no bombs are carried in the country.

The United States Secret Service also provides security in the country’s economy by counteracting all financial crimes and frauds, especially those involving counterfeiting of the currency. The agency has brought down major money laundering activities in the country that affect millions of the U.S citizens. This agency successfully balances these two very distinct roles of ensuring National Security and promoting Homeland defense. In most cases, the two roles are closely intertwined such that the agency achieves both Homeland defense and enforces the country’s laws at the same time. The Secret Service also works closely with the department of Homeland Security as well as the other Homeland defense agencies like the military and even the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in trying to combat the acts of terrorism.

The New Jersey Transit Police Department

In the New Jersey State, the government owns a very huge transit Corporation referred to as the New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT), which provides both road and rail passenger transport services. The corporation provides a link between the major towns of New Jersey and the neighboring cities like New York City and Philadelphia metropolitan. This is the largest corporation of its kind in the entire United States of America operating more than two thousand buses and almost a thousand trains and rail vehicles.

The New Jersey Transit Police Department (NJTPD) was formed to provide security for the New Jersey Transit Corporation. This is a transit police force in New Jersey, with general powers and entire statewide jurisdiction, but whose primary objective is to enforce law and order in the numerous rail as well as light rail stations and bus depots in New Jersey. It was established in 1983, January 1, due to the enactment of 1979 Public Transportation Act. The New Jersey Transit Police Department has evolved over the years to become a general authority agency, which exercises police powers in their duties without limitation in all traffic and criminal issues. The Police Department operates throughout the New Jersey state. The Department has grown from thirty-nine rail police officers in the year of inception to almost three hundred sworn police officers today plus a sixty seven non-sworn group of officers, most of whom serve as Fare Enforcement Inspectors. The Department is headquartered in One Penn Plaza East in Newark. It also has numerous commands located all over the New Jersey State to cover the extensive bus and railway terminals system.

NJTPD Primary Mission

The New Jersey Transit Police Department’s mission is to ensure that the transit system is kept safe and orderly. They value and respect every commuter by enhancing their confidence in public travel. This attribute of respect is also seen in the Saint Leo University’s core values and helps both organizations in attracting large numbers of customers. The NJTPD works very hard to ensure that passengers and their luggage reach their destinations safely. The Police Department, just like Saint Leo University, promotes sharing of information among different stakeholders to promote the quality of their services to the commuters.

Involvement in Counterterrorism

One of the major objectives of the New Jersey Transit Police Department is to prevent terrorist attacks in all their buses and trains. This objective became one of their priorities in the year 2004 following a terrorist attack on the transport system of Madrid in Spain. After the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, the bomb detection services demand increased almost in a tenfold. The New Jersey Transit Corporation experienced catastrophic disruptions in its transit schedules due to a high dependence on the Essex County Sheriff’s bomb squad of the Essex County for parcel and luggage checking. The police department decided to use Essex County Sheriff’s office to train their officers on the bomb detection techniques as well as employ the services of trained dogs that have undergone seeing-eye courses which is considered very helpful for bomb identification.

The transit corporation also customized several of their buses to enable surprise inspections increasing the chances of catching terrorists transporting bombs (McGreevey announces increased transit security measures, 2003). The department also instilled a fast response service to bomb suspicions to ensure minimum casualties in such events. They also undertake to educate the public and even demonstrate to students in schools and passengers on terminals the instructions regarding how to respond to such suspicions. During the leadership of James McGreevy, the former Governor, New Jersey Transit Police Department dramatically expanded its counter-terrorism techniques. The governor even went ahead to allow the purchasing of police mobile command vehicles. Those are twelve meter buses that are convertible into movable response units to help the New Jersey Transit Police Department capture terrorists with their arsenal and bring them to justice. These buses also contain outside fax machines and telephones as well as computers, printers and on board radios to enhance communication with other agencies, which need help in apprehending suspects. Numerous suspects have been stopped and brought to law, not to mention those warned by the tight security not to bring their dangerous supplies and explosives in New Jersey. In general, this Department has managed to stop many acts of terrorism and at the same time kept the people of New Jersey safer from small crimes of theft and mugging.

The Police Department’s role of law enforcement, national security role, has been indirectly triple in their attempts to contribute to Homeland Security. The two roles are served without separation for general safety of the State of New Jersey. Very many people have praised this state agency for the wonderful work they have done in stopping terrorism plots as well as cooperating with other agencies for the advancement of the same objective.

The New York Police Department

The New York City Police Department, usually abbreviated as the NYPD, is one of the oldest Municipal police Departments. It was established in the year 1845 and has grown to the largest police force in America under the Municipality and also the second largest police agency in the entire United States. This police department is headquartered at One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan.

This police department engages in a range of specialized services in the city of New York. These services include emergency response services, patrolling of the harbors, air support services, criminal investigation, anti-narcotic services, anti-terrorism services and bomb disposal services. In 1995, New York City Police Department integrated both New York City Transit Police and New York City Housing Authority Police Department to be managed under the police department making it very large in size. The Department has very sophisticated crime scene investigation resources as well as laboratory facilities for both criminal forensics and cyber space crime investigations. They also run a very large data warehouse that helps detectives uncover criminals during their investigations. Back in 2004, this police department had over forty thousand sworn police officers with a support staff of several thousands of members. This workforce decreased by five thousand in the following year, but ever since their department keeps on growing owing to the graduations of the New York City Police Academy.

NYPD Mission

According to the New York City Police Department’s website, their mission is to ensure law enforcement, keep peace as well as ensure that the people of New York are living in a safe environment without fear (Horowitz, 2011). It seems that the department is doing quite a good job as they have earned themselves a nickname in the City as the “˜New York’s Finest’. The NYPD’s motto is “˜Fidelis ad Mortem’, which translates to “˜Faithful unto Death’ in English.

This Municipal Police force upholds highly individual faithfulness and honesty, which compares very closely the Saint Leo University values of integrity and honesty. In addition, New York City Police Department strives to attain excellence in all their services just like their nickname suggests, which is actually among the SLU core values. The department has also warehouse enhanced information sharing among the officers and also other policing agencies through its enormous data. The university also promotes the information sharing advancements.

NYPD’s War on Terror

Among the specialties of the New York City Police Department’s services is anti-terrorism and bomb disposal. This shows that the agency is directly involved in combating acts of terrorism on top of their regular day-to-day law enforcement procedures. They have a wide range of resources including laboratories and helicopters that help in locating terrorists and apprehending them to face their charges. As if this is not enough, the department has also established its own version of the CIA and FBI. Spearheaded by one of the most successful Police Commissioners of the Department, Commissioner Ray Kelly, NYPD built a counter terrorism bureau deep in one of the New Work City’s outer boroughs. This bureau is located in an unmarked building situated among junkyards and auto-body shops. This site offers the perfect disguised location to fight terrorism from with the most modern and efficient technologies and personnel. It is just amazing to be inside those rooms with large flat screens mount from the ceiling and broadcasting foreign programming channels like Al-Jazeera via Satellite among other futuristic technologies (Falkenrath, 2009). The bureau also uses multi-linguistic analysts to predict acts of terrorism and stop them before they happen.

The counter-terrorism obsessed commissioner Ray Kelly claims that the bureau is still in its infancy stages, yet it attracts intelligent personnel among other agencies in an attempt to benchmark for their departments. The bureau stays on high alert to stop terrorists and their activities by the virtue of access of information that they have. The commissioner is able to make direct encrypted phone calls to the president of the United States in white house or in Pentagon through the Secured Telephone Unites (STUs) and receive instructions on how to proceed in terrorism situations.

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