National Incident Management System Incident Command System in Law Enforcement




Dunham, Derek

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Law enforcement has failed to embrace the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS) since its nationwide implementation, in 2003. While it is primarily used in large-scale events due to federal and state mandates, its practice in everyday calls for service is not required, and, therefore, highly underrated. Despite its scalability and flexibility, the ICS is portrayed as a system that cannot operate within the initial moments of chaos that law enforcement often responds to. However, current training courses show that it is not only possible for responding line-level officers to establish an incident command structure, but that it is extremely beneficial for everyone involved. If trained in a manner that is specific to how it should be used in law enforcement calls for service, implementation of the ICS principles would allow for a quicker response to major scenes, faster allocation of resources, and an increase in the number of saved lives. In order to accomplish this, law enforcement agencies should properly train and implement the Incident Command System as part of their culture for everyday use.



Crisis Management, Emergency Management, Interagency Cooperation