+Anderson, Willoughby, "This Isn't Representative of Our Department": Lessons from Hurricane Katrina for Police Disaster Response Planning (PDF — 262K)
"The New Orleans Police Department's response to Hurricane Katrina holds important lessons for other police organizations. The increased interest generated by this disaster should prompt other departments to review and revise their existing disaster response plans. Following a brief history of the New Orleans Police Department, this paper examines the failure of planning and problems of execution in the department's response to the flooding after Katrina. A communications and coordination breakdown followed insufficient emergency planning and training in New Orleans, requiring the police force to reconstitute command on an ad hoc basis while leaning heavily on federal support. A comparison with the San Francisco Police Department's response to the 1989 earthquake shows similar gaps in disaster planning that, due to the limited nature of that event, did not become dire. The paper then discusses the standard of performance for police forces in disaster situations and tackles specific suggestions for police disaster response re-evaluation."—Abstract.
+Chhean, Chhunny & Puneet Kakkar, Primed & Prepared: Updating the Stafford Act for a Coordinated National Response (UC Berkeley School of Law, Law 224.9, Disasters & the Law, Spring 2006) (PDF — 188K)
"Hurricane Katrina revealed fundamental problems with our nation's ability to respond to natural disasters. Not only did Katrina overwhelm governments at all levels in their abilities to respond to the disaster, but it also revealed their inadequate emergency preparation and response plans. There was a failure among local, state and federal levels to effectively optimize assistance and resources coming from other states and the federal government.
"This paper advocates an amended Stafford Act to include three solutions that are crucial to strengthening national preparedness for future disasters. First, local jurisdictions and states should be required to develop comprehensive disaster preparedness and response plans, consistent with a national framework, that enable them to effectively manage complex disasters. Second, the federal government needs to harmonize its disaster-relief infrastructure and consolidate natural emergency preparedness and response functions in the Federal Emergency Management Agency within the Department of Homeland Security. Finally, the Stafford Act should include a contingency plan for a catastrophe so large it renders traditional emergency management impracticable.
"While these structural changes for national preparedness can be implemented by executive order as governmental reports and studies have suggested, this paper stresses the importance of enacting these recommendations in legislation. The Stafford Act is the touchstone of federal disaster relief. Updating the Stafford Act to include a national framework for disaster response, the federal infrastructure for disaster management under the leadership of DHS, and the framework for the nation's response to catastrophic incidents, will achieve clarity and permanency for all parties involved. Updating the Act as suggested will ensure that the country shall be primed and prepared for future disasters."—Abstract.