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Emergency Broadcasting: Learning from Past Experiences

As the tragic events of September 11, 2001 unfolded – in New York City, Washington D.C. and other places – the emergency broadcasting systems were never activated. Interested in examining advanced public-messaging methodologies, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) handed the job of doing so to the Homeland Security Institute (HSI), a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) dedicated to assisting DHS in addressing national policy and security issues where scientific, technical and analytical expertise is required. HSI didn’t hesitate. Almost immediately, it turned its attention to the Israelis, who have an exceptionally effective means of broadcasting emergency information to the general public – perhaps one of the best in the world.

A Network of Experts in the U.S. and Worldwide

Undertaking this research in an expedited manner, however, required conducting in-depth interviews with a very small but critical group of experts working both here in the United States and abroad. To identify these individuals and facilitate this aspect of the project, HSI turned to Hillard Heintze. Tapping into its global network of contacts, Hillard Heintze secured and conducted high-level interviews with specific individuals working in the Israeli Embassy as well as in the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) division. Hillard Heintze also arranged for an Israeli-based company to conduct and facilitate interviews with high-ranking, policy-shaping officials in the Israeli government.

From Theory to Action: Making a Difference

These interviews proved highly successful and supported – along with other research – the Homeland Security Institute’s findings, which were published in April, 2009 in a DHS/HSI report entitled “Public Role and Engagement in Counterterrorism Efforts: Implications of Israeli Practices for the U.S.”