Dual Purpose Bioterrorism Investigations in Law Enforcement and Public Health Protection: How to Make Them Work Consistent with the Rule of Law
The dual efforts of law enforcement and public health personnel are important to the governmental purpose of protecting citizen health and safety. However, while the goal is the same for both investigations, their objectives are different. Public health personnel seek to identify individuals who need to be treated or isolated in order to diagnose and contain the disease. Law enforcement personnel also seek to identify individuals, but for the purposes of determining who can assist in providing information leading to the apprehension of the perpetrator and supplying evidence of a potential crime of bioterrorism. This article reviews the current authorities and commentaries on the dual-purpose investigation of law enforcement and public health personnel in a bioterrorism event. With that background, the article concludes with questionnaires for use in the dual-purpose investigation. It also provides a set of guidelines for reference in planning and carrying out investigations, which can be used as a resource by public health lawyers, health lawyers in general, and law enforcement personnel.