WISCONSINREPORT.COM (09/03/2010) - U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano has launched a collaboration with Southern Shield, a consortium of state homeland security and law enforcement officials from 14 Southeastern states and territories. It is part of the national Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative, as well as the expansion of the If You See Something, Say Something campaign to fusion centers across the Southeast. The DHS says "If You See Something Say Something™" is used with permission of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“Homeland security starts with hometown security, and our state and local law enforcement partners and the public play an important role in keeping our country safe,” said Secretary Napolitano while attending a Nashville, Tennessee event September 1st.
“By expanding the SAR initiative and the ‘If You See Something Say Something’ campaign to the Southeast, we are providing critical tools to the region’s communities that will strengthen our ability to identify and disrupt threats”, Secretary Napolitano added.
Secretary Napolitano was joined at the event in Nashville, Tennessee by Tennessee’s Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell and Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, DHS Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Bart Johnson and U.S. Department of Justice Associate Deputy Director for the Bureau of Justice Assistance James Patrick McCreary
During her remarks, Secretary Napolitano announced that Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama have officially launched their participation in the national Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative, a partnership among federal, state, and local law enforcement to establish a standard process for law enforcement to identify and report suspicious incidents or activity and share that information nationally so it can be analyzed to identify broader trends.
She also highlighted the Department’s continued commitment to supporting fusion centers and the key role they play in facilitating information sharing among federal, state, local and tribal and private sector partners, underscoring the expansion of the “If you See Something, Say Something” campaign via the Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama fusion centers.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’s Transit Security Grant Program, is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
The launch represents DHS's fourth major expansion of the “If You See Something, Say Something” initiative this summer—following expansions to Amtrak, general aviation and the Washington, D.C. metro area earlier this summer.
In the coming months, DHS will continue to expand the campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to engage travelers, businesses, community organizations and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.
While in Nashville, Secretary Napolitano also met with emergency management officials to discuss ongoing recovery efforts following recent flooding in Tennessee caused by severe weather.
The Obama administration has been deeply involved in response and recovery efforts since before the storms hit. FEMA personnel and resources were on the ground in Tennessee within hours of the storms, working with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and local officials, the private sector, faith groups and non-profits, and the public to respond.
President Obama declared a Major Disaster for Tennessee on May 4, 2010, a total of 46 counties were designated for Individual Assistance and 49 counties were designated for Public Assistance.
As of August 31, 2010, more than 67,600 Tennessee individuals and families have registered for federal assistance, and to date, FEMA has approved more than $159 million. In addition, the Small Business Administration has approved more than $113 million in loans for homeowners and $46 million in loans for Tennessee businesses.
FEMA Community Relations teams have visited nearly 25,000 residences and more than 1,800 faith-based organizations, 500 community organizations and 6,000 businesses across the state, making sure families and organizations received the support they need. FEMA Private Sector specialists have also worked with more than 650 businesses, chambers of commerce and nonprofit organizations to provided needed support and response and recovery information.
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