State agencies turn to information-sharing and interoperable communications abilities
| 10.18.2006 | 06:28:51 | Views: 3149 | ID:
October 18 '06: Many state and local homeland security agencies and emergency management offices are now spending federal homeland security money for "information-sharing, geospatial capabilities, intelligence fusion centers, biometrics and situational awareness applications," Washington Technology reported Monday.
While many first responders' communications systems have been upgraded - radios, mobile devices such as computers and PDA's, and smart phones - "some states are ready to make even more specialized IT investments for homeland security," WashTech reported.So far, more than $3 billion in federal grant money has been distributed to states since 2002. For 2007, Congress has approved $3.4 billion for first responders with more than $770 million for urban areas, $525 million to support basic formula grants, $375 for police and law enforcement, $210 for ports and $175 million for rail, WasTech continued. "In grant guidances issued in December 2005, DHS recommended improving interoperable communications and information-sharing as top IT priorities. State officials said they are following those guidelines and paying attention to local IT needs." "Perhaps the most visible manifestation of information-sharing at the state level is establishing intelligence fusion centers, which analyze anti-terrorism information from various sources. The National Governors Association polled states earlier this year and found more than 40 are running or developing these facilities." One example found was Alabama which has set up information-sharing and interoperable communications for its law enforcement agencies. So far, information-sharing operations in the state have allowed local law enforcement agencies to communicate and share information using web-based portals. "The state also plans to develop an intelligence fusion center to facilitate information-sharing among police, fire, public health, industry, environmental and food authorities," WasTech wrote.
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