In the wake of September 11th, the intelligence community began to realize that there were a lot of scattered pieces of the intelligence puzzle out there, but no one had the complete picture. As some have said, “We knew… we just didn’t know that we knew.”
These intelligence gaps have led to many changes within the intelligence community; including the creation of intelligence fusion centers. By definition, fuse means “to become blended or joined as if melting together.” The purpose of a Fusion Center is to bring together all relevant partners, each utilizing their own areas of expertise to respond to and prevent criminal activity. Having multiple partners working together allows for the maximization of resources and streamlines the flow of information.
Partners within a Fusion Center are not limited to law enforcement. The intelligence community has realized the need to share information with other public safety agencies, critical infrastructure, emergency management, and public health partners, among others.
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security released Guidelines for Establishing and Operating Fusion Centers at the local, state and federal levels. These standards were created to assist with interoperability and communication issues among agencies as well as to ensure that Fusion Centers were operated consistently. The goals are to enhance cooperation among agencies, develop and strengthen relationships with our partners and ultimately improve our crime-fighting and anti-terrorism capabilities.
Approximately forty states currently have Fusion Centers focusing both on Homeland Security issues as well as other areas of criminal activity. Each of these centers depends on the law enforcement community at large to share critical information in an effort to combat criminal activity.
Tips and Leads
The Region 5 Fusion Center is responding to reports of suspicious activity throughout the Iowa LEIN Region 5 area. This area includes the counties of Adair, Appanoose, Boone, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Greene, Guthrie, Jasper, Lucas, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Polk, Ringgold, Story, Union, Warren, and Wayne. The Fusion Center team members review all information that comes into the center and follow-up is conducted when necessary.
The Fusion Center personnel follow leads and conduct interviews to determine the validity and significance of incoming information. The Fusion Center recognizes the importance of sharing the information that comes into the center. Fusion Center personnel work closely with the reporting agencies to provide feedback and status reports on the tips and leads provided. The tips and leads provided to the Fusion Center are in turn shared with other agencies such as the FBI and local Joint Terrorism Task Forces.