Local homeland security operations
| 03.20.2006 | 10:31:20 | Views: 2067 | ID:
March 20 '06: Montgomery County officials in Maryland have a unique take on homeland security according to the Washington Post Sunday. The homeland security department in the county "is the only such agency to maintain uniformed officers apart from its local police force.
The 60-person unit is charged with being the eyes and ears of a small but growing homeland security apparatus," a movement to increase the role of homeland security operations on the state and local level - a process being mirrored in communities across the country.The county's budget currently stands at $5 million and is part of a larger nation-wide movement to include homeland security operations in state and local law enforcement operations. The Post reported in Virginia counties like Fairfax and Prince George's counties creating departments for homeland security, in part to receive federal funding, but that no county has an operation as large as Montgomery's department, although there has been criticism of a unnecessarily large program. In New Jersey, the New York Times reported Governor Jon Corzine taking the role of the state's homeland security operations to the next level by naming a former White House National Security Council staff member to run the state's operations on a cabinet level. Richard L Canas, the Times reported, "has a 34-year career in law enforcement and intelligence that began when he was a patrol officer in Salinas, California, and included jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency, and National Drug Intelligence Center." Governor Corzine said, "Security must be our top priority. ... That said, we also need not compromise the civil liberties that so many Americans have fought died to protect." Other programs in Maryland being floated would include the organization of the state's counties homeland security departments into a central organization according to Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley. the Mayor said, "We need to consolidate these offices, locate them centrally in Prince George's County and make real strides to improve homeland security." And in West Virginia a two-day summit organized by Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller featured "the state's response capabilities and some of the techniques that emergency officials can employ in the event of an emergency." The keynote feature of the summit "a simulated Washington DC evacuation that gamed out how an attack or natural disaster on the nation's capital would affect West Virginia. ... Officials worked to determine how to respond in the event of ... an attack - and how to ensure that West Virginia families and their children are safe."
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