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Fusion Centers: Empowering State and Local Partners to Address Homeland Security Issues

Posted by Public Affairs

Every day, state and major urban area fusion centers receive, analyze, disseminate, and gather homeland security information in order to protect our local communities. 

Fusion centers enable DHS and other federal partners to connect with state, local and tribal law enforcement and homeland security partners to collaborate on terrorism, crime and other homeland security issues.

For instance at the end of June, the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC)  played an instrumental role in the arrest of an individual suspected of placing two bombs at a local bookstore.

In June 2011, the Lakewood Police Department was notified about an incident at a bookstore at a Colorado mall.  Due to the nature of the crime, the Lakewood Police Department notified the FBI of the incident who then activated the local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The JTTF is led by the FBI and comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.  After the JTTF collected preliminary information, it was sent to the fusion center and distributed nationwide and to Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLO) requesting information that might relate to the incident. 

Later that same day, the suspect crashed his vehicle on a highway in Clear Creek County, CO.  A Colorado State Trooper, who is also a TLO, investigated the crash and took the suspect into custody on charges related to menacing and driving under the influence of alcohol.  Less than 24 hours later, the Colorado fusion center released additional information about a possible suspect in the bookstore incident, including information about the suspect’s vehicle.  When the trooper received this information he suspected that the driver he had arrested was the suspect in the bookstore mall bombing.  He contacted the fusion center to provide this information, which in turn, notified the JTTF.  The suspect was later charged with crimes related to threatening public safety related to the placing of the bombs in the bookstore.

This event shows the important role of information sharing and fusion centers in our nation’s homeland security effort.  Hometown security is essential to homeland security.  DHS support of fusion centers like the one in Colorado empowers local officials to better protect their communities and the nation from evolving security threats.
Published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C.
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