The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement in Critical Infrastructure Protection




Schafer, Joseph A

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Institute for Homeland Security


Local law enforcement agencies and their personnel are pivotal in helping secure and protect critical infrastructures within their jurisdictions. Critical infrastructure can be highly varied in nature, size, complexity, and needs of local law enforcement. Agencies, their leaders, and their personnel need to understand not only infrastructure in their jurisdiction but also infrastructure that might have implications, despite being located elsewhere. Awareness of critical infrastructure and its prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery needs can be imperative in keeping communities safe, protecting the well-being of public safety personnel, protecting lives and property, avoiding disruptions to vital services, and neutralizing risks of criminal or terrorism events. There may be multiple ways agencies accomplish these objectives, from having a general awareness that a form of infrastructure exists to allocating the fixed deployment of personnel to secure a facility. This report discusses critical infrastructure and its implications for local and state law enforcement agencies. First, it examines the various efforts agencies might engage in to protect critical infrastructure and surrounding communities. Second, it explores some of the challenges and barriers which impede agencies from engaging in appropriate critical infrastructure protection efforts. Third, it examines the major risks that can threaten the security and integrity of critical infrastructure. Finally, it offers a set of recommendations for how Texas law enforcement agencies can seek to protect critical infrastructure and the communities they serve.



homeland security, critical events, prevention, protection, mitigation, response, recovery


Schafer, J. A. (2023) The Role of State and Local Law Enforcement in Critical Infrastructure Protection. (Report No. IHS/CR-2023-1026). The Sam Houston State University Institute for Homeland Security.