Skip Navigation

Research Collaboratives

The Burkle Center is partnering with the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council (LAHSAC) and its President and CEO, former Los Angeles County District Attorney Ira Reiner, to further the efforts of HSAC to study and improve the security of the Los Angeles region.




Homeland Security Advisory Council - Burkle Center Joint Initiative

In the 2011-12 academic year UCLA graduate and undergraduate students worked with HSAC on a variety of homeland security projects in Southern California. HSAC is a voluntary, non-partisan coalition of business, government, law enforcement and academic leaders who are dedicated to improving homeland security and the emergency response capabilities of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area through public-private partnerships.

Burkle Center undergraduate student interns conducted research under the guidance of HSAC President and CEO Ira Reiner to improve regional disaster preparedness. The Burkle Center also selected graduate students in the Luskin School of Public Affairs’ Master in Public Policy program to conduct research specifically on ways to improve security at LAX, and to evaluate the disaster preparedness of LA City departments. Their findings are summarized below:

The Optimal Law Enforcement Structure for Los Angeles International Airport

This report is based, in part, on a statement released by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Airport Security. The panel stated that, in an ideal situation, we would have one law enforcement agency at LAX. Currently, Los Angeles World Airport Police Department (LAWAPD) and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) share airport policing responsibilities. This report answers the following question: What is the optimal organizational structure for local law enforcement at LAX to maximize counterterrorism performance?

In this study we identified four organizational models and a set of criteria to use to evaluate each of these models with the end goal of determining which would most efficiently addresses counterterrorism at LAX in a cost-effective manner. The four organizational models referred to in our analysis are:

MODEL A: Grant LAWAPD full control over all aspects of policing at LAX.
MODEL B: Grant the LAPD full jurisdiction over LAX.
MODEL C: Retain the current hybrid jurisdictional model.
MODEL D: Grant LAWAPD greater control, but maintain LAPD’s specialized units.

We recommend that the optimal law enforcement organizational structure for LAX would be Model D. This model would grant LAWAPD greater law enforcement control and authority for all aspects of daily policing at LAX, while LAPD would only provide tactical and emergency services at the airport (e.g. SWAT, bomb squad). In addition LAPD’s daily routines (traffic, patrols and standard policing) would be eliminated due to redundancy. We conclude that granting LAWAPD increased control over policing would improve the airport’s organizational structure because it would eliminate a number of problems associated with having two law enforcement agencies with overlapping jurisdictions and responsibilities. The new, streamlined organizational structure would improve communication, coordination, and overall airport law enforcement operations as to allow LAWAPD to better prevent and respond to a terrorist incident at LAX.

Link to the Report

Methods for Evaluating the Disaster Preparedness of L.A. City Departments

This Applied Policy Project addresses a key problem the City of Los Angeles faces in preparing and responding to disasters and emergencies: the City’s lack of a systematic means for measuring preparedness levels across its multiple departments. This project proposes multiple options for evaluating a key dimension of preparedness that cuts across all departments: the preparedness of the City’s employees. To pragmatically improve the preparedness of the City’s employees, the City must first measure the current state of preparedness among its employees. Next, the City should establish benchmark levels of preparedness per employee, per job role, and per department. Then, the City should implement programs that bring the measured level of preparedness in line with the established benchmarks. Finally, city officials should continually reevaluate preparedness based upon the selected metrics in order to strategically identify and address weaknesses. Some of the options evaluated in this report are measuring time spent in emergency training by all City employees, measuring spending on emergency preparedness and planning per department, measuring emergency supply stockpiles per department, and measuring employees’ level of personal or home preparedness and their self-perceptions of emergency preparedness.

Link to the Report

For more information regarding the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council please visit the HSAC website.

Burkle Center for International Relations