By Barry Domingos, Sergeant (Retired), Massachusetts State Police; and Subject Matter Expert, Law Enforcement Operations Working Group through the Cabezon Group
n emergency can happen at any time, and issues of identifying the correct resource in the correct configuration for mutual aid requests can not only make or break the response for the host agency but also have serious implications for the assisting agencies. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) requires the use of typing standards designed to simplify and speed the process of ordering and sending resources from state to state or for interstate, mutual aid. This organized response using pretyped and predefined resources helps to ensure appropriate resources necessary to support the incident or planned event are identified, located, requested, ordered, and tracked quickly and effectively and also helps to facilitate the movement of resources to the jurisdiction that needs them. Resources are typed in the following manner:
- Category: The function for which the resource is most useful—for example, firefighting, law enforcement, health, and medical; followed by
- Kind: A broad class of characterization, such as teams, personnel, equipment, and supplies (metrics have been developed for each kind and are measurements of capability or capacity); and then by
- Type: A measurement of minimum capabilities to perform its function—type I implies a higher capability than type II.
In an attempt to develop resource typing or common terminology, the National Integration Center uses several working groups to develop resource tables representing key functional disciplines, including law enforcement.1 The Law Enforcement Operations Working Group (LEOWG) comprises law enforcement professionals from state, regional, local, and tribal police departments of various sizes with incident and event experience and skills essential for the development of law enforcement resource tables. In addition, the LEOWG consults with specific groups or specialty units within the law enforcement profession in an attempt to get the best firsthand information to support the development of law enforcement resource tables. Specifically, the LEOWG has been directed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to develop resource tables designed to assist in the deployment of tier one law enforcement resources between states and under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) agreement in support of a planned event or an incident.
The EMAC system is a congressionally ratified organization managed by the National Emergency Managers Association. EMAC provides form and structure to interstate mutual aid that allow states affected by a planned event or incident to request and receive assistance from other member states. This is accomplished through the use of established resource typing standards in a timely and efficient manner. Currently, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam are members of EMAC.
Contained within the EMAC system is Tips for Law Enforcement Deployments.2 This checklist has been developed to address and mitigate issues identified through lessons learned during past deployments of law enforcement resources, including the understanding that a law enforcement officer deployed under an EMAC request carries the authority of a law enforcement officer to the host jurisdiction. Any person credentialed and authorized for deployment through EMAC meets the requirements as specified in the NIMS Guideline for the Credentialing of Personnel, meaning a law enforcement officer is exactly that: A law enforcement officer within the host jurisdiction who is authorized to carry weapons in performance of duties and bring regular equipment including radios and less-lethal weapons systems. The checklist also provides that responding officers will wear official uniforms and badges, have authority to arrest and detain without a warrant, and have “the same powers (except that of arrest unless specifically authorized by the receiving state), duties, rights, and privileges as are afforded forces of the state in which they are performing emergency services.” 3 It is assumed that officers will be trained to minimum standards as full-time law enforcement officers required by the agency having jurisdiction and have fulltime standing, not on a probationary status.
The LEOWG has developed resource typing for several kinds of resources within the law enforcement category and is completing development of resource tables for several other kinds of law enforcement resources. The process for developing the law enforcement resource tables is deliberate and follows a similar pattern as all other disciplines tasked with the development of resource tables. In some cases, the development of law enforcement resources is complicated by the simple fact that the LEOWG is categorizing people rather than equipment. Also, within the law enforcement community there are no nationally recognized standards for most of the resources contained in the law enforcement discipline. For this reason, the LEOWG had relied on the best practices of law enforcement agencies and the professionals within the law enforcement community who have unique skills and experiences associated with a particular kind of resource. Several good examples of this reliance are the development of Mobile Field Force, K-9, Prisoner Control, Bomb Squad, SWAT, and Prisoner Transport resource tables. Without the valuable assistance of professionals in the law enforcement community, including individuals willing to give their time and agencies willing to allow their members to contribute to the efforts of the LEOWG, none of the resource tables would be possible.
It is expected that during an incident or a planned event, emergency response personnel will use the law enforcement resource tables to identify the correct resource or resources in the correct configuration by combining several kinds of law enforcement resources for deployment. An example of this may be using a Mobile Field Force resource combined with a Prisoner Transportation resource, a Patrol resource, and a Fixed Site Security resource in the development of a tactical plan to address a planned event that may involve acts of civil disobedience. A similar application of developing a tactical plan using different kinds of law enforcement resources may apply to a flood, a football game, a hurricane, a tornado, or a hazardous material spill. The law enforcement resource tables give emergency responders the ability to identify, locate, request, order, track quickly and effectively, and facilitate the movement of law enforcement resources to the jurisdiction that needs them during an EMAC deployment.
As FEMA begins the process of releasing the law enforcement resource tables to the public for comment, the LEOWG begins the process of outreach to groups, organizations, and individuals. The public comment period represents a valuable time frame to the LEOWG by providing an opportunity for professionals in the law enforcement community and beyond to review the resource tables and provide comments and suggestions prior to the resource tables being published in their final formats for use nationwide. Additionally, the LEOWG would like the opportunity to present the resource tables to groups and organizations to help answer any questions related to the development and implementation of the resource tables.
For information related to the LEOWG or to schedule a presentation of the law enforcement resource tables, please contact Chairman Paul McDonagh, assistant chief, Seattle, Washington, Police Department; the Cochairman Errol Etting, director, Maryland Transportation Authority Police; Acting Law Enforcement Advisor James W. Hagy, FEMA Administrator’s Office; or Barry Domingos, Subject Matter Expert to the LEOWG. ■
|Barry Domingos recently retired as a sergeant from the Massachusetts State Police, having served 28 years with the agency; is a certified instructor for the Emergency Management Institute and the National Fire Academy; and is an instructor for the Incident Command System courses, the FEMA All-Hazard Incident Management Team course, and position-specific training courses. He was a member of the Law Enforcement Operations Working Group and now serves as the subject matter expert to the Law Enforcement Operations Working Group.|
1Although the National Integration Center has identified subject matter experts for its working groups, the center welcomes others’ participation into its stakeholder review group. Stakeholders receive updates concerning the working group process and are permitted to review and provide feedback on the draft products that are developed. Those individuals interested in participating as stakeholders may email FEMA-NIMS@dhs.gov.
2Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Tips for Law Enforcement Deployments, www.emacweb.org/index.php?option=com_pollydoc&format=raw&id=124&view=doc (accessed December 9, 2012).
Please cite as:
By Barry Domingos, "Law Enforcement Operations Working Group Focuses Efforts on Resource Typing," The Police Chief 79 (February 2012): 28–29.