RESPONSE TO SEPTEMBER 11TH ATTACK 5
Responseto September 11thAttack
Thedevastating events of the September 11thattacks marked a historical moment in the United States. Thisterrorism attack did not only leave several people dead and injured,but also had an impact in the economy. It shook the entire nation andabroad at large. The law enforcement agency, since then, changed withthe purpose of enhancing the security of the nation. This was inresponse to the reported flaws in law enforcement and communicationstrategies directed towards terrorism attack. While responding to theemergency, communication system greatly inhibited the efficiency ofthe emergency response.
Althoughthe New York police department did its best in regard to theSeptember 11 attack, there were many flaws in the whole operationsystem. This emanated from the lapses in coordination and leadership,coupled with improper planning and training. Many officers did notknow who was in charge and whom to report to in the event of anattack. There is also considerate evidence that some officers in thefield acted on their own without a clear direction from theircommanders. This incoherence led to a state of confusion whileresponding to the September 11 terrorism attack. There is need for agreater coordination and cooperation in leadership to be able torespond effectively to disasters. Further, it was reported that priorthe terrorism attack, the police performed very large scalesimulations and drills because they did not anticipate the attack(CBS News, 2004).
Thecommunication system during the terrorism attack was also relativelyinadequate. It is believed that communication failure hindered theefforts of the police greatly. The communication between the policeand other emergency agencies such as the fire departments wasineffective. It fueled resistance to unified command structure, whichled to a lack of coordination in the entire operation. The othernotable thing is that there was a confusion emanating from the crushof the radio traffic. This was coupled by the inability tocommunicate across departments, which made it impossible to getcrucial information on the scene officials. The officials in thenorth tower, for instance, were not aware that the south tower hadcollapsed. The information from the police helicopters was notcommunicated effectively and on time to the firefighters. Reportsindicated that the communication difficulties in the New York’scommand and control were inadequate to address the issue with theurgency it deserved. Further, there was a report by investigatingofficers who claimed that rescuers were forced to make rapid lifethreatening decisions on their own due to poor communications.Consequently, this raised the death toll in the world trade center(CBS News 2004)
Likewise,communications break downs made it difficult to make announcements toinform people to evacuate the buildings. Some survivors reported tohave called the 911 only to be told to hold on twice. The emergencydepartment was unaware of what was happening at the ground of thetrade center, and it was made worse because the system wasoverwhelmed by absolute volume of calls. On the other hand, peoplewho called the port authority police desks got contradictinginformation and advice, which led to more chaos. The emergencyoperators were not aware where the planes had struck hence, theycould not advice people properly. The other instance of communicationfailure occurred when the south tower collapsed. Firefighters in thenorth tower were asked to evacuate, but lack of good communicationsystem, many did not hear. This may have been due to the idea thatthe radio channel was overwhelmed or people were using differentchannels. It was clear that the communication system was ineffective,which increased the death toll.
TheSeptember 11thattack called for changes in law enforcement and emergency responsesystem. Although the communication system is not up to theexpectations, it has improved profoundly since the terrorist attack.Agencies worldwide are taking and sharing information in a morecoordinated way. This has been enabled due to the increasedcommunication between agencies. Information exchange system betweenlocal and federal agencies has improved. The authorities haveinstalled a new electronic system that is able to access data fromthe federal agencies. It also allows Feds to access intelligenceinformation and JPD data. However, the system is far from theexpectations of the law enforcement agencies. There are severaltechnology gaps for critical disaster preparedness. The federalagencies should use a hyper tech incident command system in which themultiple agencies involved should adopt for unified control andcommand. This is a proven method of crucial incidence response systemand management. The disaster response organizations and the federalagencies need to adopt a common communication system to avoidcontradicting information as was seen in the September 11thattack. It is crucial for the law enforcement agencies to keep an eyein the communication system to enhance the effectiveness of disasterresponse system. Although there are great changes in thecommunication technology, there is need for improvement. This wouldensure that in case of another disaster, the agencies involved inresponse would be able to effectively do their jobs in a unifiedcontrol or command (Jenkins& United States, 2010).
CBSNews (2004). Communication breakdown on 9/11. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cbsnews.com/news/communication-breakdown-on-9-11/
Jenkins, W. O., & UnitedStates. (2010). Emergencycommunications: Establishment of the Emergency CommunicationsPreparedness Center and related interagency coordination challenges.Washington, DC: U.S. Govt. Accountability Office.