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New intelligence center to beef up state security

Nov. 3, 2005

by The Associated Press

AUSTIN--As part of its latest homeland security plan, Texas is creating a new intelligence center to sift through information gathered by the state's 2,685 police departments to detect possible terrorism patterns and to enhance law enforcement.

"A lead in a small town in Texas can have statewide, national or international significance," the Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan states. "Every terrorism lead must be pursued to its logical conclusion."

The Texas Fusion Center will be an around-the-clock center that watches and warns about hazards and consolidates and analyzes information and intelligence.

It is one facet of the Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan 2005-2010 that Gov. Rick Perry's office unveiled Wednesday.

The proposal seeks to boost security from rural stretches along the Mexican border to refineries along the Gulf of Mexico to the way crime is monitored in major cities, Perry said.

He said an initial plan to give law enforcement equipment is under way. Wednesday's announcement focuses on a second phase of managing the equipment by sharing intelligence better among police agencies, he said.

"This second part of security is about having the intelligence available to use those capital assets in an appropriate way," he said.

The state homeland security plan is likely to evolve to fit the state's needs and potentially changing threats, Perry said.

The plan focuses on building a statewide intelligence capability; enhancing multi-agency counterterrorism investigations; continually reducing vulnerabilities at critical infrastructures; ensuring public health preparedness; and expanding public awareness and involvement.

It also is aimed at training first responders and ensuring that the state provides for its special needs population thoroughly before, during and after an emergency.

Texas' first homeland security strategic plan was released in 2004.

The updated plan incorporates new national homeland security initiatives.