Enhancing Law Enforcement Capacity to Respond to Extreme Weather Events

Enhancing Law Enforcement Capacity to Respond to Extreme Weather Events


Submitted by: Individual Member Cosponsored by: Homeland Security Committee



WHEREAS, communities, states/provinces, and nations around the globe have, since the early 2000s, experienced increasingly severe impacts from extreme weather events, which include floods and storm- related mudslides, windstorms and derechos, unseasonable snowstorms and freezes, droughts and heat waves, coastal storm surges, and damage from fires that affect the wildland-urban interface;84 and

WHEREAS, there are clear risks to law enforcement personnel in pursuing duties associated with these events, including to officer physical safety due to injury and violence, to officer mental health due to prolonged exposure to stress and loss, and to officers’ long-term health from increased exposure to diseases and smoke or chemical hazards;85 and

WHEREAS, information about the causes, types, and effects on communities of escalating extreme weather events presents a complex learning curve; and

WHEREAS, the escalation of extreme weather frequency and severity brings significant economic, public health, environmental, and civil instability impacts, which require coordinated planning by government, emergency, and law enforcement to addresses the risks in a timely manner;86 and

WHEREAS, with escalating risks, the action steps of planning, adaptation, and mitigation are more effective the sooner they are started; and

WHEREAS, communities impacted by extreme weather events look to members of law enforcement to ensure their safety during events requiring evacuation and maintenance of civic order;, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) hereby recognizes the urgency of developing skills and in-depth knowledge related to extreme weather events and the anticipated threats arising from them, including associated public health, economic, agricultural, population movement, and civil order consequences; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP recommends that its members ensure the adequacy of their community's emergency response plan and recognize the need for interagency training and coordination to address enhanced risk (frequency and severity) of extreme events, in line with recommendations of state/provincial and national climate risk assessments;87 and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the IACP recommends that its members, in order to move from reactive strategies to preventive ones, strengthen community partnerships that will assist with the development and allocation of emergency resources, conduct of evacuations, integration of persons displaced by extreme weather events into the community, de-escalation of conflicts arising from extreme weather event stressors, and communicate safety precautions and resilience behaviors to the public, in order to enhance community well-being.


84 Mapped: How Climate Change Affects Extreme Weather around the World.” Carbon Brief, 21 Apr. 2020,   www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world. “2019 Concludes a Decade of Exceptional Global Heat and High-Impact Weather.” World Meteorological Organization, 10 Dec. 2019,  public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/2019-concludes-decade-of-exceptional-global-heat-and-high-impact-weather.

85 Nick Obradovich, Dustin Tingley, Iyad Rahwan. “Effects of Environmental Stressors on Daily Governance,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2018, 115 (35) 8710-8715; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1803765115

86 Abbott, Chris. An Uncertain Future: Law Enforcement, National Security, and Climate Change. Oxford Research Group, 2008. Chambers, David. “Policing and Climate Change.” Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub, July 2011, knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/ajem-jul-2011-policing-and-climate-change/.

87 For example: Canada’s Changing Climate Report, Government of Canada, 2019, changingclimate.ca/CCCR2019/. “Fourth Oregon Climate Assessment Report (2019).” Oregon State/Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, Jan. 2019, www.occri.net/publications-and-reports/fourth-oregon-climate-assessment-report-2019/. Krishnan, R., et al., editors. Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region: A Report of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India. Springer, Singapore, 2020. USGCRP, 2018: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, USA, 1515 pp. doi: 10.7930/NCA4.2018.



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