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Local Emergency Policy Implementation After 9/11

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Sean Hildebrand
Ball State University

Since the 9/11 attacks, the federal government altered its role in the emergency management system. These new demands altered the actions taken by and responsibilities of federal, state, and local actors in the emergency management realm before, during, and after an incident. Do local actors report compliance, even if begrudgingly, in order to maintain their access to desperately needed federal grant dollars or are they diligent about maintaining comprehensive emergency practices?

New research from Dr. Sean Hildebrand at Ball State University finds that the receipt of grant funding did not alter the actions of local officials with regards to the new federal policy expectations. Instead, local departments that considered terrorism a threat before the September 11 attacks were more likely to comply with federal policy expectations. Otherwise, jurisdictions that used Comprehensive Emergency Management practices before 9/11 were more likely to continue to do so, irrespective to federal policy expectations.

Future research will focus on the decisions made by local actors, and how specific Comprehensive Emergency Management actions taken throughout the “hazard cycle” are affected by the policy changes, as well as how the National Response Framework (which replaced the NRP) impacts day-to-day actions by state and local emergency management departments.

The article, published in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is available online here.