A community crisis management plan is important in our modern society where many forces pose a serious threat to our safety and security. In this plan, the primary focus is to prepare for a possible attack and come up with measures that can help casualties and their family members in case of an attack. The plan seeks to prevent terrorists from planning and successfully executing an attack in this community. In case the team fails to identify such threats early enough, especially those organized an executed by individuals, then our team will be ready to respond to such attacks, neutralize the attacker, and restore sanity within the shortest time possible.
Community crisis management plan is increasingly becoming important in our society as the issue of homegrown terrorism is becoming a major concern. Over the past decade, the United States has witnessed several cases of terror attacks planned and executed by American residents, some of whom are citizens of this country. According to Maxine, Gower, and Haukkala (2013), cases, where local Americans become sympathizers of terror outfits such as ISIS and Al Qaeda, have become common in this society.
In other cases, some of the American residents develop hatred towards American forces’ activities in the Middle East, especially claims that sometimes our forces kill innocent people while fighting terrorists in countries such as Iraq. I clearly remember the Boston Marathon Bombing that happened on April 15, 2013, where 3 people died while several others sustained serious wounds. According to Buller (2015), other cases of homegrown terror attacks have been witnessed in several parts of the country since then. Americans still remember with a shiver the Orlando Nightclub shooting where a lone gunman killed 50 innocent people and wounded several others after being radicalized.
As Diller (2014) says, homegrown terrorism is now becoming a crisis. The more the United States is involved in the wars of the Middle East, the more it faces terror threats from a section of society members. The stringent measures being taken by Trump’s administration may only make the volatile situation worse. The more a section of the society feel segregated, the more they are likely to organize and execute terror attack against people they believe are oppressing them. Coming up with a community crisis management plan is very important.
It may help in thwarting terror attempts before they are executed. In case the terrorists manage to execute their plans, then having an effective community crisis management plan can help in having an effective response mechanism that would avoid the devastating impact of such plans. In this paper, the researcher seeks to use theories, strategies, and concepts learned in this course to develop an effective crisis management plan for my community to help encounter the emerging threat of homegrown terrorism.
Strategy for Identifying and Selecting a Crisis Management Team
Identification and selection of a crisis management team is the first step of coming out with a plan of managing homegrown terrorism in this community. The crisis that should be managed has already been identified as terror and at this stage, the focus is to come up with a team capable of managing this threat. To identify the team that should be involved in managing this crisis, it is important to understand the nature of the crisis first. We are managing a security issue that can strike at any time and its effect can be very devastating if it is not controlled appropriately.
According to Miller and Rivera (2016), for a long time, it has been assumed that security is a function of the police, the intelligence officers, the military, and other law enforcement agencies. However, the truth is that every member of society has a role to play in ensuring that our society is secure. We have different functions in our society as we try to ensure that any threats to communal safety and security are addressed effectively. People who will form part of the crisis management team can be classified into five different categories, which include the intelligence officers, the law enforcement agencies, the religious leaders, medical experts, and community leaders.
The intelligence agencies are the federal government agents working within this region. They include the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation agents. These agents have been helpful in the past in thwarting security threats in the community. However, sometimes their work becomes difficult because of the lack of close coordination between them and the local communities. In this team, the two agencies will be requested to have some of their officers becoming part of our community so that their work of gathering intelligence is made more efficient than it is currently. The law enforcement officers, especially the local sheriffs, will also form part of our crisis management team.
The local sheriffs work very hard to protect the community from any form of threat, including the threat posed by terror outfits. However, Diller (2014) notes that their biggest challenge is always getting information at the right time so that they can act upon it to protect the community. These officers will be offered a unique opportunity to work very closely with federal intelligence officers. They will be able to gather intelligence they need in time to act upon them and protect the local community.
The religious leaders will also have a role to play. Members of the community are always able to notice abnormal activities among their neighbors that may raise suspicion. Not everyone is comfortable sharing such information with the security agents. They may prefer talking to their religious leaders believing that they can look for a better way of solving the problem. These leaders can then share such sensitive information with the community to ensure appropriate measures are taken to investigate further the issue and to thwart any threat as soon as possible. In the few mosques that are within our community, intelligence can also be gathered. The local leaders in these mosques should identify radicalized Muslims whose activities may be a threat to society.
These leaders have a responsibility to the community to share such information with the community so that these individuals are not allowed to cause any harm to members of the community. The last category is community leaders. They include those who have been selected to head community patrol units, the celebrities, elders, and other respected members of our society. They also stand a good chance of gathering intelligence in society because of the regular interactions they have with the people.
After identifying groups of people who should be forming part of the crisis management team, the next step will be to single them out and convince them to be part of our new organization. I will personally draft a letter and send it to the intelligence agencies and law enforcement instruments in our community to convince them to send some of their officers to be part of our team. I will also approach the religious leaders in the local churches, mosques, and other places of worship so that they can also play a role in enhancing the safety of the community. Community leaders and other influential individuals will also be consulted.
Organizational Resources Available
A community crisis management plan is not complete without the resources needed to facilitate various activities that need to be conducted. We intend to make this team operate in a way that will cause no financial burden on anyone. We will not collect money from the team members. There is a social hall within this community, which will be a perfect location for our meetings.
The hall is under the management of the county government. We only need to consult the county government so that we can book specific days in a month when we shall be meeting at this facility. Based on the nature of this group, we are certain that the county government will not charge us anything when using this facility. The intelligence officers have enough resources needed to collect information that we need. This crisis management team will only be additional support to their official work of gathering intelligence.
The federal government has provided the FBI and CIA agents with vehicles, financial resources, and any other resource that can facilitate their gathering of intelligence. Their resources, as it helps them achieve their mandate of gathering intelligence, will also help us in gathering information necessary to enhance the security of the community. If the identified parties accept the invitation to be part of the team, then we shall have another important resource, the human resource.
These people will volunteer to do everything within their powers to collect information from the public about issues that pose a threat to the community. It is a fact that although we will be relying on the federal and county government resources, we will need a small budget for miscellaneous expenses that might arise as we conduct our activities. We will appeal to the well-wishers, especially the major foundations within our community, to donate to our organization to enhance its efficiency in fighting terror threats.
Trained Professionals Available in the Community
Security is a very sensitive issue that requires highly trained professionals to successfully deal with it. When it comes to the issue of homegrown terrorism, it becomes even more complex because determining the motive of these individuals is not easy. Knowing who is radicalized in our community may not be very easy because they are unlikely going to announce that they are sympathizers of terror groups. It is natural that once radicalized, these individuals may try to find others who share their sentiments and hang around them.
They will try to hide their extreme ideas from the public, and in case they plan to cause harm to members of the community, they will do it in complete secrecy. Others, in case they fail to find close allies they can trust, decide to engage in terror attacks as lone terrorists such as the case of Orlando Nightclub attack. As such, it will require highly trained professionals who have the capacity of tracking down such individuals within the society and ensuring that they are arrested before executing their heinous acts.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation officers are highly trained security professionals who are not only skilled in gathering intelligence but also in taking down such criminals even when they are armed. FBI officers go through rigorous training to perfect their skills in gathering intelligence and in engaging criminals in gun battles.
Most of these terrorists often use sophisticated weapons when executing their attacks. The FBI officers have the right training to engage them in combat. The Central Intelligence Agency officers are fully trained to gather intelligence among the public. Although they are civilians, they can penetrate the community and collect vital information. They can pose as teachers, religious leaders, newspaper vendors, shoe shiners, cab drivers, among other common jobs to get as close to the source of information desired as possible.
The sheriffs are trained to maintain law and order within the community. They can execute successful arrests of suspected terrorists. They can also engage them in combat if that becomes necessary. These three government agencies have professional training needed to gather intelligence and to engage these terror suspects in gun battles if it becomes necessary. The religious leaders are also trained personnel. Our team will not just focus on identifying the extremists and taking them out.
We will also try to create awareness among the youth and help those who are going through emotional challenges in a way that may make them join terror groups. We have religious leaders who are skilled in counseling. They can help those who are emotionally troubled and restore sanity in them. Those who are contemplating joining terror groups or acting alone to cause terror in the community in support of terror outfits can be offered emotional support to help them become law-abiding citizens keen on enhancing communal safety and security.
Ethical and Legal Considerations
According to Miller and Rivera (2016), the issue of dealing with extremism in American society has raised several ethical and legal issues even before the September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attack. After the Al Qaeda attacks, the society rudely awakened to the firm that terrorism is real and it may have devastating consequences if it gets the security instruments unaware. Since then, there has been a tendency to associate terrorism with radical Islam. Indeed, it may be easy to blame the recent terror attacks in the United States to radical Islam based on what has been the case before.
September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attack that killed close to 3000 people, Beltway sniper attacks that killed 10 Americans, 2009 Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 people and 2015 Chattanooga shootings that killed six people were all planned and executed by radical Muslims. Other major terror attacks organized and executed by radicalized Muslims include the 2015 San Bernardino attack, 2015 Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, and the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting.
According to Buller (2015), it is becoming increasingly difficult for most Americans, especially those who have personally experienced terror attacks, to dissociate terrorism from radical Islam. This is specifically so because of the pronouncements that these terrorists often make when they are executing their terror plans. Some of the most horrific terror attacks in this country have indeed been planned and executed by individuals who are believers of the Islamic faith. However, it should not be lost to us that some of the attacks were planned and executed by Americans who are not Muslims. For instance, the Dallas police shooting that left six officers dead was planned and executed by a non-Muslim.
To win the war against homegrown terrorism, we need to start by first embracing ethics. We can only be seen as being ethical in our practices if we fight homophobia, prejudice, and profiling of people along racial and religious lines. Hundreds of thousands of Islamic Americans have been committed to ensuring that our country remains safe. It may be true that some Americans of Muslim faith who immigrated into this country from the Arab world still feel they are attached to their country of origin hence may be more loyal to these countries than they are to the United States.
However, the fact is that it is not practically possible to identify such individuals and deport them back to these countries. It is also true that the more we profile a section of the society, the more we push them away from the masses, making it easy for them to develop hatred towards this country. Profiling only makes it easy for them to act against this country.
Deontology is an ethical theory, which holds that when making decisions, people should adhere to their duties and obligations. In our team, we will bring in different professionals. These professionals must adhere to their duties and remain true to their service to the nation. The intelligence officers should focus on gathering intelligence consistently without compromise. The law enforcement agencies should also remain ethically responsible when discharging their duties. The religious leaders should be responsible for spiritual nourishment in the community without any prejudice.
The entire team must embrace the principle of assumption of innocence until proven guilty during investigations. The team must respect the legal structures put in place by the federal, state, and county governments in all its activities. Observing ethical and legal considerations will be critical in ensuring that this team is successful in protecting the local community from a possible security crisis that is caused by homegrown terrorists.
Issues Related to Diversity of the Population When Addressing the Crisis
The United States is a highly diversified country in terms of its population. According to Buller (2015), for over the last two hundred years, the United States has experienced high rates of immigration. Soon after the Second World War, the United States became a land of opportunity and a country where dreams come true. As a result, the country experienced an influx of immigrants coming from all over the world. The country is currently diversified. It is home to White Americans, African Americans, Indians, Chinese, Arabs, and many other racial groups. The country is also diversified in terms of religion. Although Christians are the majority, we also have Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and other religious groups.
The issue of diversity may be a major impediment to this team as we seek to prevent the security crisis. According to Walsh, Pezalla, and Marshall (2014), there is a general mistrust between some Muslims and the majority Christian population. We, as a team, will have to foster trust. We will have to ensure that both Muslims and non-Muslim residents of our community feel appreciated and involved in this fight. Everyone must feel a party to the fight to address insecurity.
The past events are lessons to us, but they should not be the basis of profiling against a certain group of people. We intend to use our diversity as our strength in this fight. Our diversity will offer us a rare opportunity to understand reasons why some people would be ready to kill innocent people and even die in the process for the sake of a course that may not directly benefit them. We hope that by including people from diverse backgrounds, we will have a plan that will help us solve this problem in the most effective manner.
Models Appropriate for Training Counselors for a Crisis
The team will work hard to thwart any terror attempts that may arise in our community. However, we are fully aware that even with our team committed to preventing such eventualities, terror attacks can still occur in our community or our neighboring community. We, therefore, have a team that will be responsible for counseling the survivors of such attacks or family members of those who are affected by such criminal acts. The counselors must be ready to help the affected people overcome the trauma and lead a normal life despite the impact such events had on them. These counselors must be adequately trained on how they need to offer their services in cases of a crisis. The following figure shows a possible model that the stakeholders can use to train the counselors.
The model identifies four areas of training that should be emphasized in the training process. They include focusing on the problem, focusing on the solution, focusing on the person, and focusing on insight. The counselors will be trained based on their backgrounds. Counselors who have a background of investigation (the FBI and CIA agents) will be trained to counsel while focusing on the problem. They can handle survivors who witnessed the events or know the terror plan. As they counsel these people, they will also try to gather an important clue that can help make arrests or prevent future attacks. The law enforcers and medical experts will be trained in a solution-focused manner.
The officers will be trained to ensure that similar tragic events do not occur. As such, their counseling will focus on getting information from the affected people and learning how to fight similar attacks. The medical experts will focus on finding ways of fighting physical and mental pain caused by the attack. The spiritual leaders will embrace the person-focused approach of counseling. They will try to understand the mental status of the survivors and family members of the affected group and try to offer them solace.
They will aim to make them overcome the mental trauma after the attack. Insight focused training will be embraced by team members classified as influential in our society. These team members will try to make the survivors focus on the future other than the past events. They will try to motivate them to start new chapters in life instead of dwelling in the past.
How to Use empirically-supported Treatments with Survivors and Caretakers
As mentioned before, the primary aim of this crisis management team is to limit cases of terror attacks in this community. However, as a crisis management team, we are prepared to respond to cases of emergency and offer our services to help the victims and restore normalcy within the shortest time possible. The inclusion of medical experts was primarily done on the basis that they will be needed in managing crises. These medical experts will use empirically supported treatments with survivors.
According to Buller (2015), when managing a crisis, it is advisable to use empirically supported therapies instead of coming up with unique therapies that others may not understand. This is so because, during such trying times, teamwork is critical. A caretaker may be forced to hand over a patient to another caregiver to rush to another case of an emergency. In such cases, success in treating these casualties can only be achieved if the doctors use conventional methods that are clearly understood by their colleagues. It means that a treatment process started by one doctor can be completed by a different doctor because they understand what should be done at every stage.
During the training, these caretakers will be advised to stick to known methods of therapy, which are empirically supported to ensure that their actions can be closely coordinated. They will be trained to use conventional methods of treating patients instead of new methods. Emphasizing empirically supported therapies will be critical, specifically because of the possible need to invite others to help the team in managing the crisis.
For instance, the September 11 terror attack was so serious that the locals had to rely on the support of non-locals to address the issue (Corey, Corey, Corey, & Callanan, 2014). Our medical team members may decide to come up with new methods of addressing the emergency, which may be okay if the crisis can easily be managed by our small team. However, to ensure that there is uniformity in addressing any emergency, research-based therapies proven to work will be used. Our team will be open to help from other sources, especially when handling a major crisis.
How the Crisis Management Plan Would Be Evaluated
The plan, once developed, should be evaluated before its implementation. As James and Gilliland (2016) note, crisis management plans must go through a rigorous evaluation to identify and eliminate areas of weakness. When developing a plan, an important issue might be ignored. It is important to go through the plan and identify issues that were understated, overstated, or completely ignored.
Members of the team will do the evaluation process. After coming up with the plan, all the members will be given two weeks to go through it and identify weaknesses. During this period, members may consult other experts to help in identifying areas of weakness. However, the consultation should be done carefully to protect our plan. After the two weeks, the team members shall assemble and start working on areas of weaknesses identified. To change a previously agreed-upon strategy, the member(s) proposing the change must offer a satisfactory reason why the change should be introduced.
Members will listen and evaluate the new prepositions weigh it against the previously proposed strategy to determine whether it is worth embracing the new strategy. Any additions or eliminations needed in the plan will also be debated before finally coming up with a final proposal. The fact that we have experts in various fields means that our plan will be evaluated from a different perspective. It will have to pass the standards of intelligence officers, law enforcement agencies, medical experts, religious leaders, and the public. It means that the crisis management plan will have to not only be ethically right but also meet the legal standards put in place by various government agencies.
Coming up with a community crisis management plan is important in managing some of the catastrophes that may strike at any time. Currently, one of the major concerns in society is the increasing threat of terror attacks by homegrown terrorists. In the last decade, the country has witnessed major cases of terror attacks planned and executed by American residents. It may not be easy to know when one is planning to attack his people, but having a communal crisis management plan may not only help in managing such attacks but also thwarting them before they can take place.
In this plan, a team of locals, including intelligence officers, law enforcement agencies, medical experts, religious leaders, and selected members of the public will form a team that will be ready to respond to the crisis related to terror attacks. The team will try to thwart such attacks before they occur through intelligence gathering and law enforcement strategies. However, in case such attacks occur, our team will be ready to respond and save lives.
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