Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminology


Casey T. Harris

Committee Member

Jeffrey Gruenewald

Second Committee Member

Christopher Shields


Counterterrorism, Policing, Preparation, Security, Terrorism


Terrorism has been on the mind of the American people and politicians alike since the 9/11 attacks over two decades ago. In the years since, there has been a massive shift in law enforcement priorities from community-oriented policing (COP) to homeland security-oriented policing. This was especially evident in the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, which was established to aid law enforcement entities with terrorism preparedness. While prior literature has addressed a variety of factors that have contributed to terrorism preparedness, very little research has been conducted regarding law enforcement experiences with terrorism incidents in their jurisdictions and how these incidents have impacted preparedness measures. The current study utilizes data from the Law Enforcement Management and Statistics (LEMAS) survey from 2016, as well as the American Terrorism Study (ATS), Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) from 2001-2016, and American Communities Survey (ACS) 2012-2016 to examine preparedness measures among 1,243 state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States. Examining bivariate relationships and logistic regression techniques, we found that the presence of any terrorist incident or successful incident increases the likelihood of an agency to have a dedicated terrorism unit or personnel in place, particularly given prior experience with Islamic extremist terrorism.