GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
Protecting Communities is a Community Effort
What can communities do
in a post-9-11 world to guard against terrorist attack?
Our Dallas field office
came up with a great idea: use web technology to bring together law enforcement,
the military, first responders, businesses, and community organizations
in North Texas to partner and share information. The Emergency Response
Network (ERN) was born.
led by our Dallas Field Intelligence Group—uses a website to
gather and share information quickly and easily.
On the collection
side, we’ve provided a fill-in-the-blank
form for members of the network or the local community to file a
report when they witness something suspicious. Once the form is filled
in, it’s delivered with a click of a button to our Dallas office,
where it’s reviewed by agents and analysts.
of information have we gotten? All kinds. For example:
- A military
supply company reported possible sabotage at its facility.
reports of persons photographing electric transformers and other
critical infrastructure equipment, we got the license plate number
of a suspicious vehicle from a utility company worker.
member reported a suspicious identity theft: a company jacket, hard
hat, employee identification, and day planner were stolen from a
regional utility truck, leaving expensive tools untouched.
also had reports of people filming or photographing bridges, buildings,
and other critical infrastructure—and sometimes asking
questions about the types of businesses inside.
And what information
do we share? The ERN allows us to relay important reports
and breaking news to thousands of partners in a matter of minutes by
e-mail, phone, and the Internet. Last month, for example, we quickly
alerted members about the London bombings. We also post special reports
in a password-protected area of the public website for the roughly
The ERN has been such
a success that the Department of Homeland Security piloted the concept
in four Federal Emergency Management Agency regions—Dallas, Seattle,
Indianapolis, and Atlanta. The pilot exceeded all of its goals and is
now being rolled out nationally as the Homeland
Security Information Network—Critical Infrastructure initiative.
And what does
the ERN mean for North Texas and other cities across the nation? Better
communication on issues relating to terror and crime. Faster and easier
information sharing. Stronger partnerships. And safer communities for
Dallas Emergency Response Network | FBI
Intelligence Program | Dallas Field