More studies are reporting that police officers, firefighters, public school safety officers, and other emergency response workers believe that they still are unprepared to deal with terrorism in the United States. The New York Times said that one report, done by the Rand Corporation for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that police and firefighters agreed that “they do not know what they need to be protected against, what form of protection is appropriate and where to look for such protection.” The report, based on a survey of 190 emergency workers in 40 places, said a “majority of emergency responders feel vastly underprepared and underprotected for the consequences of chemical, biological or radiological terrorist attacks.”
The second study, issued by the National Association of School Resource Officers, said that more than 90 percent of its surveyed members believe schools are a “soft target” for terrorists; 76 percent said they thought their schools were inadequately protected.
The studies support Bush administration critics who say Washington has done too little to help state and local officials deal with terrorist threats and that billions of dollars in promised federal counterterrorism assistance have been slow to arrive. The Department of Homeland Security said that “we share the desire of the first responders to get better prepared and to get the best equipment possible, and that is why we have provided approximately $4 billion this year to further that goal.”