Pandemics and the Justice System
Recent avian influenza outbreaks in some parts of the world have prompted concern about the possible threat of a flu pandemic. Should a public health emergency occur, effective response will require careful planning not only by public health officials, but by the public safety community as well.
During a health pandemic, law enforcement will need to coordinate its response with public health and medical officials. Law enforcement could be called on to enforce individual or community quarantines; travel restrictions; and closures of office buildings, shopping malls, other public buildings, and public transportation; protect stockpiles of vaccines; secure health care facilities; and control crowds.
In May 2006 in Chicago, the Bureau of Justice Assistance hosted a national symposium, Justice and Public Health Systems Planning: Confronting a Pandemic Outbreak. The symposium was organized in response to the President's National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, which calls for a multilevel response by federal, state, and local governments to the potential threat of the next human pandemic.
Speakers provided participants with an overview of the history of influenza, the nature of pandemics, and the particular threat of avian flu. They emphasized the importance of maintaining the rule of law during a health crisis.
More than 200 representatives from the law enforcement, corrections, judiciary, and medical communities attended the meeting, which provided a forum to exchange promising planning and response approaches being taken by various jurisdictions. Strong, clear communication and cooperation among agencies and the public will be essential should a pandemic occur.
For information on preparing the justice system for an influenza pandemic, visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA/pandemic/resources.html.
Homeland Defense Journal presents report on preparing for flu pandemic
Health officials across the country and at every level of government are working on pandemic preparedness planning so they will be ready and able to mitigate the impact when bird flu hits the United States. The report identifies the following issues that need to be considered in the planning process:
- The population at large needs to be better prepared to cope with a pandemic that could last many months. Individuals and households need to know what supplies they will need, what precautions to take, how to take care of family members who become sick, and what to do to limit the spread of the disease.
- Every business in the country needs a pandemic preparedness plan. This plan must detail how the business will continue to operate if a large percentage of staff falls ill and what essential supplies need to be stockpiled to ensure the business can continue to operate if deliveries are delayed. All large employers also must have their own vaccination plans and supplies of vaccine.
- Health authorities need more guidance and funding from Federal and State resources. Guidance is needed to advise authorities on what funding is available and what it can be used for. Most important, adequate funding is necessary to ensure that comprehensive pandemic preparedness plans can be produced and implemented and that essential supplies and equipment can be procured for stockpiling.
This report was researched and written by Homeland Defense Journal senior correspondent Don Philpott. The report covers Federal, Department of Defense, State, and local initiatives that are designed to deal with the threat of a flu pandemic. It also provides recommended lists of necessary equipment and supplies. The second half of the report details the results of a national survey of state emergency management and public health executives on readiness issues in their states. The survey was conducted in May 2006 by Homeland Defense Journal survey staff.
Pandemic Preparedness: A Special Report from the Homeland Defense Journal, 32 pages
Department of Homeland Security develops national strategy for pandemic influenza
On November 1, 2005, President George W. Bush issued the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. The National Strategy outlines the coordinated Federal Government effort to prepare for pandemic flu. It underscores the critical role that State, local, and tribal authorities; the private sector; and communities must play to address the threat of a pandemic and the concrete steps that individuals can and should take to protect themselves and their families. The Implementation Plan for the National Strategy further clarifies the roles and responsibilities of government and nongovernment entities, including Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities and regional, national, and international stakeholders, and provides preparedness guidance for all segments of society. It represents a comprehensive effort by the Federal Government to identify the critical steps that must be taken immediately and over the coming months and years to address the threat of an influenza pandemic.
Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, 233 pages
Providing services to victims viewing a trial at multiple locations
To help victims and survivors of mass violence and terrorism, some courts have ordered the closed-circuit transmission of trial proceedings to multiple locations so that victims may more easily participate in the trial process. This Office for Victims of Crime e-publication describes the protocolfirst developed in response to the Oklahoma City bombings by the Colorado Oklahoma Resource Council (CORC)for providing standardized quality services in a safe haven environment to victims during the trial, sentencing, and other court proceedings of those involved in crimes of mass violence and terrorism.
The CORC protocol ensures that safe havens are located near a courthouse or a closed-circuit television (CCTV) site designated for use by victims viewing a trial and the support teams providing victim services for them. These safe havens not only provide victims with access to immediate support from professional service providers and other victims, but also prepare victims for what to expect in court and for the emotional reactions they may have to the court proceedings.
Providing Services to Victims Viewing a Trial at Multiple Locations
Preparing for public health emergencies
Public health emergencies pose special challenges for law enforcement, whether the threat is manmade (e.g., the 2001 anthrax attacks) or naturally occurring (e.g., flu pandemics). Policing strategies will vary depending on the cause and level of the threat, as will the potential risk to the responding officers. In a public health emergency, law enforcement will need to quickly coordinate its response with public health and medical officials, many of whom they may not have worked with previously.
This Bureau of Justice Assistance report prescribes the role of law enforcement during public health emergencies, mass vaccinations, voluntary restrictions, and quarantines; securing the perimeter of contaminated areas and securing health care facilities; controlling crowds; investigating scenes of suspected biological terrorism; and protecting national stockpiles of vaccines or other medicines. It also discusses the risks to law enforcement from food-, water-, and blood-borne diseases; immunization and personal protective equipment for law enforcement officers; protecting officers' families, working with public and private agencies; and mass casualty planning.
The Role of Law Enforcement in Public Health Emergencies: Special Considerations for an All-Hazards Approach, 40 pages
Should you form your own police department?
Although forming a new police agency is a complex and expensive undertaking, very little has been written about it until now. This COPS Office publication will assist public officials and citizens in determining whether to start their own police departments and, if they decide to go forward, how to do so efficiently and effectively. The guide is a valuable tool that can help communities in thoughtfully considering the major issues involved in forming a police department.
Guidelines for Starting and Operating a New Police Department, 64 pages
Civil rights issues facing law enforcement leaders
This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the civil rights issues and challenges that today's law enforcement leaders face and offers practical recommendations for addressing the challenges. It examines the experiences of agencies engaged in protecting civil rights as well as those that have come under federally mandated monitoring resulting from investigation of patterns or practices of civil rights violations. Law enforcement executives will learn from the perspectives and experiences of their peers and gain insights into the best ways to serve their communities using strategies and practices that are respectful, ethical, and effective.
Protecting Civil Rights: A Leadership Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement, 245 pages
Implementing change and reform in law enforcement
One of the most critical issues facing the law enforcement profession is how to implement change and reform in the most cooperative manner and with the least disruption to an agency's operations. Unfortunately, few resources exist that help both labor and management understand how to work productively and establish a cooperative relationship. To address this issue, the COPS Office has developed two volumes on police labor-management relations. Volume I offers police managers and union leaders a variety of perspectives and practical solutions for implementing change and bringing about reforms. Volume II is a guidebook providing a method and tools for management and labor to work together more effectively.
Clandestine methamphetamine labs
State and local police in the United States report that meth trafficking and abuse has become their most pressing illegal drug problem in recent years, surpassing even crack cocaine. Although offenders manufacture a variety of illicit drugs in clandestine labs, meth accounts for 80 to 90 percent of the labs' total production. This guide addresses the particular harms that clandestine meth labs create by providing a general overview of the problem and responses to it, describing the problem and reviewing factors that increase its risks, and identifying a series of questions that will help agencies analyze their local problems.
Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs, 2nd edition, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series, No. 16, 78 pages
Witness intimidation plays a role in many types of crimes and is related to other problems that police encounter during the course of an investigation. This guide describes the problem of witness intimidation, reviews the factors that increase its risks, and identifies questions that can help analyze local witness intimidation problems. Finally, the guide reviews responses to the problem as identified through research and police practice.
Witness Intimidation, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series, No. 42, 72 pages
Benefits and consequences of police crackdowns
Crackdowns, a response that police commonly use to address problems with crime and disorder, involve high police visibility and numerous arrests. They may use undercover or plainclothes officers working with uniformed police and may involve other official actions in addition to arrests. This guide defines crackdowns and their basic elements and describes how crackdowns reduce crime and disorder; benefits, criticisms, and negative consequences; and how they can be used to address specific problems.
The Benefits and Consequences of Police Crackdowns, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police Series, No. 1, 94 pages
OJJDP working with CDC to compile juvenile corrections data for pandemic planning
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is currently advising staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on statistical data relevant to juvenile corrections and pandemic planning. CDC is seeking information on the number of people employed by public and private facilities across the Nation's juvenile justice systems. In light of its ongoing relationship with CDC in addressing juvenile correctional health care concerns, OJJDP is also informing CDC and other appropriate agencies regarding the number of juveniles in residential placement. Additionally, in consultation with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, OJJDP plans to disseminate information on pandemics through its various listservs and mailing lists to its juvenile justice constituencies, including judges, lawyers, juvenile corrections administrators, and other service providers.
Evaluation presents findings on OJJDP's Title V delinquency prevention program
This online report presents the findings from a multiyear, multisite national evaluation of the Title V Community Prevention Grants Program. Through Title V, OJJDP provides communities with funding and a guiding framework for developing and implementing comprehensive juvenile delinquency prevention plans that meet their unique circumstances and risk conditions. This report describes the experiences of 11 communities in 6 States that implemented the Community Prevention Grants Program and how the program affected these communities, including the benefits they received and the challenges they encountered.
National Evaluation of the Title V Community Prevention Grants Program, 251 pages
Survey details trends in youth gangs from 1999 to 2001
Since 1996, OJJDP's National Youth Gang Center has conducted the National Youth Gang Survey, an annual survey of law enforcement agencies to identify the presence and assess the extent of the youth gang problem in jurisdictions throughout the United States. This summary presents findings from the 1999, 2000, and 2001 surveys and, where available, preliminary findings from the 2002 survey. The survey estimated that approximately 731,500 gang members in 21,600 gangs were active in the United States in 2002 (compared with an estimated 846,000 gang members and 30,800 gangs in 1996).
National Youth Gang Survey: 19992001, 80 pages
AMBER Alert guide targets public information officers
Online manual helps states develop their DMC plan
The AMBER Alert program began in 1996 when Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children. The purpose of this guide is to underscore the value and role of the law enforcement agency's public information officer (PIO) as an integral member of the public warning network. The guide describes the PIO's responsibilities during an AMBER Alert and provides tips to maximize his or her effectiveness before, during, and after AMBER Alert activation. It offers recommendations to help law enforcement agencies achieve a smooth, rapid public warning activation program.
AMBER Alert Best Practices Guide for Public Information Officers, 12 pages
A 1988 amendment to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 requires each State to develop and implement plans to reduce the disproportionate representation of minority youth detained or confined in its secure detention facilities, secure correctional facilities, jails, and lockups. OJJDP requires all States participating in the Formula Grants Program to address disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in their State plans. This online technical assistance manual is designed to walk juvenile justice professionals step by step through the process of developing a State's data-based DMC reduction effort. OJJDP has incorporated the lessons learned over the years into this Disproportionate Minority Contact Technical Assistance Manual (3rd edition) to provide the field with up-to-date guidance on continuing DMC reduction efforts across the country.
Disproportionate Minority Contact Technical Assistance Manual (3rd edition), 296 pages