How 9/11 changed the way law enforcement functions


CARTHAGE, Mo. — September 11th, 2001 is day none of us can forget.

It changed the way many people felt about their own safety – and security across the country.

Kelli Price, Local Resident: “And one of my colleagues called out, “You’ve got to get in here quick!’ and ran into the break room, and actually watched the second plane hit the tower.”

Something local resident Kelli Price will never forget.

“Fear and uncertainty on one where we being attacked, what was the cause of this?” said Kelli Price, Local Resident.

A challenge for law enforcement agencies – both federal and local. Carl Francis remembers what it was like as a Lieutenant for the Joplin Police Department.

“Called immediately to the US Attorney’s Office, I was sent there on several occasions. You know it was a concerted effort at that time to try and get information out reference to possible suspects,” said Carl Francis, Law Enforcement Veteran.

It widened what had been the perspective on potential threats.

Carl Francis, Law Enforcement Veteran: “Unfortunately prior to 2001 the emphasis was mostly domestic terrorism,” said Francis.

“It was a wake up call. And it changed the way that you thought about terrorism,” said Sloan Rowland, Joplin.

Not just limited to the extra patrols assigned to the airport. Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland points to the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure.

Sloan Rowland, Joplin: “We started looking at vulnerabilities, how we were going to respond to mash cows to advance active threat amounts. I think it changes the way we looked at things that changed our training overall as a whole.”

“Talk about protecting pipelines and water resources and things like that would never even cross our minds is something that we’d be trained on,” said Greg Dagnan, Carthage Police Chief.

Carthage Police Chief Greg Dagnan says even something as basic as talking to other first responders has changed after 9/11.

“Anything that you buy, be it a computer software, or a radio system – it’s all about, ‘Can you talk to you fire, can you talk to medical?” said Dagnan.

20 years later, the impact is still rippling through law enforcement.

“If, you know, somebody left a backpack in a hallway, we wouldn’t be checking that out. Now, you darn well better check it out, and you better handle it properly because you know all of these are potential threats,” said Dagnan.

“I think there’s kind of a sense of apprehension of what’s, what’s coming down the road and the fact that we need to be even more prepared now, maybe than we haven’t been in the last few years,” said Rowland.

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