Self Assesment/Admissions Essay -Homeland Security

I have always been intrigued by studying different topics related to Law Enforcement, specifically in the area of Homeland Security. I have taken many courses over the past 19 years relating to or touching the surface on issues surrounding 911 and Homeland Security. I find myself wanting to look deeper into these issues. I am seeking admissions into this program for the following reasons.

• I want to learn in depth about the issues we have faced as a nation, and the issues we will be faced with in the future regarding Homeland Security.
• I have been waiting on the right time in my life to start my Master’s Program, and it is finally the right time.
• I am looking forward to the challenges of research.
• I would like to continue to advance myself and my career, and a Master’s Degree will assist my endeavor.
• I am committed to my family, and setting examples for my children to follow. I always push my children to do more, and this is another way to show them there are no limits if you’re willing to give 100%.

My background in Law Enforcement will make the transition into this program very smooth for me. I decided to go back to College in 1993 to finish my Bachelors Degree. I finished my degree from Saint Leo University in 1995, graduating with honors (CUM LAUDE). I have taken many courses dealing directly with Homeland Security, and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). I am incident Command Certified (ICS), and have taken numerous courses relating to ICS structure. I personally have handled large scale events relating to disasters and security. I have been responsible for several successful presidential escorts.

I feel my future contributions relating to Homeland Security center around drug trafficking efforts and training of our Law Enforcement members. I feel many parallels exist between drug trafficking activity and terrorism. Why have we not closed off our borders to drug smuggling? What implications might this have for terrorists or others who may wish to import a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) into our country? Has there been a large scale impact on home-grown/manufactured drugs?

While there is sure to be debate regarding the answers to these questions, most can agree that drugs remain abundantly available and an important reason our jails are overcrowded. Criminals respond to technology by using any means at their disposal, ranging from low tech “mules” which sacrifice one, knowing that 9 others will get through.

Drug cartels have penetrated foreign governments and corrupted officials worldwide, well-financed terrorists have done the same. It would be naive to think that officials or lower level government personnel in Colombia, Afghanistan, Mexico, and a dozen other countries that may be corrupt, only sell advance information about government operations against drug cartel activity while not selling information about operations against terrorist groups. Policies are bound to fail if they ignore important social forces.

Important lessons for the counter-terrorism community may lie in the Government’s response to the drug trade and the way the government is organizationally structured to respond to the activities of drug trafficking organizations. Law Enforcement training must include better command, control, and coordination of policy and its funding and implementation (overall program responsibility). The enhanced effectiveness will not come from organizational structure alone. Law Enforcement training must be sensitive to ever-changing social, religious, and political phenomena spanning the globe; must be proactive, not reactive; and must keep abreast of evolving or revolutionary new technologies.

One of the main challenges today for Law Enforcement is finding a way to eliminate the illegal activity for terrorist groups. If you can eliminate the illegal activity, you will impact the funding source for these various groups. Illegal drug money funds terrorist organizations and activities. The terrorists point to our willingness to consume these drugs as direct evidence of our society’s moral degeneracy. Law Enforcement needs to be vigilant in its efforts to thwart drug trafficking in the United States. Having a better understanding of Homeland Security and the challenges we face as a nation, will enable me to better understand what lies ahead.

The area I am currently responsible for is considered a rural area. I have worked in metropolitan areas in the past, and they pose different challenges than my current assignment. In a rural area there is more opportunity for terrorists to blend into the community. Additionally, there are more opportunities for large scale organizations to set up and run a grow house or lab that would be difficult to detect. I am utilizing aircraft operations to combat some of these issues, as well as focusing on neighborhood watch groups to report suspicious activity. These basic and simple techniques have proven to be successful in combating these types of behavior within our community. The area I currently work in did not have a large scale multi-jurisdictional co-op plan in place prior to 2005. I was instrumental in implementing and writing this plan for the tri-county area. We have a working plan to deal with terrorist threats, natural or manmade disasters, and large scale mobilizations. In May 2001, we experienced a long draught within Dade County. A large scale fire developed, and we had to execute our co-op plan. The 17 day fire detail worked flawlessly. In August 2002 we experienced a tornado in Dade County. Again, we utilized our plan and our efforts proved to be successful. Whether it is a large scale disaster or terrorist threat, I am confident in my ability as a Law Enforcement manager to oversee and collaborate with any agency to make the detail a success.
This program will provide me with the resources I need to better understand Homeland Security. I plan to utilize this knowledge to share the information learned with those I command.

In conclusion, I would like to thank those on the selection committee for allowing me the opportunity to apply for this program. I look forward to the learning and growing opportunity that this program will offer.