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Coping with Homeland Security Responsibilities: A “Street-Wise” Perspective from Texas Counties

PAQ, Vol. 33 No. 1, (2009)

Survey results from Texas County judges and finance officers suggest that they have adopted a rational approach to Homeland Security outlays despite the myriad threats their jurisdictions face and the complex and contradictory incentives of the intergovernmental grants they receive. Our respondents appear to have an accurate read on risk probabilities and believe that elected officials offer competent stewardship in this policy arena. Federal grant requirements appear to have fostered increased utilization of performance metrics while encouraging actors to break down “turf” barriers between and within jurisdictions. The upshot of this exploratory study is that our respondents have acquired a “street-wise” approach to Homeland Security priorities and expenditures within a complicated and tax-constrained operating environment. Our findings also suggest that as we reach the seventh anniversary of “9/11,” the development of a performance regime (Clarke and Chenoweth, 2006) may be supplanting coordination as a sine qua non for local providers of Homeland Security.

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