This article estimates situational awareness in a diverse collection of police officers with respect to their individual ability to identify nine key behaviors that are indicative of terrorism activity. The selected group of police officers was drawn from state, county, and municipal law enforcement organizations. The terrorist-centric behaviors were presented to the test group in multicomponent text-based scenarios that emulate real-world police events and respondents were instructed to rate each scenario component on an 11-point Likert-type suspicion scale. With the exception of terrorist fundraising, law enforcement personnel tended to view all of the terrorist-centric activities and behaviors as at least “somewhat suspicious.” The activities that could also be associated with “conventional” criminality such as weapons acquisition received higher ratings than those activities more exclusively related to terrorism such as recruiting. We also noted statistically significant differences based on agency type, officers’ assignment (patrol or detective), experience, gender, agency size, and education. Race had no effect.
Regens, James L., Nick Mould, Carl J. Jensen III and Melissa A. Graves. 2016. "Terrorism-Centric Behaviors and Adversarial Threat Awareness." Social Science Quarterly (January). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ssqu.12233/abstract