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Article Law Enforcement Response to Biological Terrorism: Lessons Learned from New Orleans After Hurricane Katrina
Articles are $4.00 and only available by downloadable Acrobat PDF.
Page 139   Total Pages   11
Author(s) Frances L. Edwards
Issue February 2006
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Abstract n 1997, Congress passed the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici legislation, 50 U.S.C. para 2301 et seq (Winslow, 1999), providing guidance and funding for the nation’s largest cities to develop the ability to respond to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attacks. This legislation created the Metropolitan Medical Strike Team (MMST) program [later evolved into the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS)], bringing together police, fire, emergency management, emergency medical services, public health, healthcare, and coroner officials to plan for a response to an attack against an American city (Winslow, 2001). The weapons of concern were originally nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC), and after the attacks of 9/11, radiological and explosive (CBRNE) were added. As part of the MMST/MMRS program, the jurisdiction was required to develop a comprehensive emergency response plan for CBRNE weapons. Early in the development of the plan for biological weapons response, it became clear that the legal authorities of health officers and their enforcement capabilities were at odds. While health officers have a wealth of existing legal authorities (Dory, 2003), they have no enforcement agency within their direct control. They would have to rely on law enforcement departments accustomed to enforcing the Penal Code to become enforcers of the Health Code in a time of societal crisis (Reuland & Davies, 2004). In San Jose, California, one of the original MMST* cities, the discussion of the biological response plan for contagious disease attack quickly developed into a debate regarding the powers and relative responsibilities of the health officer and the police chief. Under California law, the health officer has the power to invoke isolation and quarantine measures, but the only means of enforcement at his or her disposal is the local police department of the jurisdiction in which the infected individual or suspected outbreak is located.
Articles are $4.00 and only available by downloadable Acrobat PDF.