Byline: Tony Bridges
Since Sept 11, law enforcement in America may have changed forever.
Police officials across the country say that protecting their communities from rapists, robbers, con men and killers is no longer enough.
While federal cooperation is weak and some politicians balk at the idea, police plan to become the front-line defense against terrorism, rooting out terrorist cells in the nation's cities and helping to stop attacks before they happen.
That's going to mean intense intelligence-gathering by local cops; more police at transportation hubs and public events; new ties between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; and possibly more cost to taxpayers for less-personalized police services. "Law enforcement (officers) have become domestic warriors," said Palm Beach County (Fla.) Sheriff Ed Bieluch. "You have to stop terrorists before the airplane leaves the ground."
Cops spy on terrorists
That's why, since Sept. 11, the new buzzword in law enforcement circles is "intelligence." Most police agencies have had intelligence units for years, so it's not a new concept. They run electronic surveillance operations, work with informants and analyze crime data. But they've traditionally been focused on the old law enforcement standbys: drugs, gangs and organized crime.
Now, police departments around …