HOMELAND SECURITY

Noted Police Chief Slams Federal-Local Partnerships

3/1/2009
By Stew Magnuson and Matthew Rusling
The man who led the local police response to the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon hopes the new administration does a better job of coordinating counterterrorism efforts with local law enforcement.

“We have been essentially cut out of the homeland security discussion,” Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn told a Cato Institute audience.

In three different jobs during the past six years he has banged his head against the wall trying to make federal officials at the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice include local police in their efforts to root out terrorist plots.

Flynn was the Arlington, Va., chief of police on 9/11. His department gathered evidence at the crime scene and secured the area immediately surrounding the Pentagon. He went on to become the Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety.

Local police are often the first to uncover terrorist plots because plotters are usually engaged in some kind of criminal activity, he noted. And all terrorist acts — even if a group’s goal is “global” — are carried out locally, he added.

Community police grants in the 1990s were effective in helping law enforcement build contacts and relations in neighborhoods. But that money flowed to homeland security grants after 9/11.

Much of it went to buy hardware such as fire trucks and command-and-control vehicles.

Finding that he has had to reapply for security clearances in every job, he has stopped bothering.

“Are the [feds] really going to tell you secret stuff? — No.”He said he hopes to have an “adult conversation” about such matters with the new administration.

Topics: Homeland Security, DHS Leadership, Disaster Response

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