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The fight against terrorism is fought not by armies, but by public and private security organizations that work to counteract terrorism in major cities. To develop tactics in this war, roughly 400 representatives of public agencies and private firms met Sept. 20 in Los Angeles. Titled Intelligence-Led Policing: Public and Private Partnership in the Prevention of Terrorism, the meeting was the eighth annual conference of Law Enforcement and Private Security (LEAPS), a non-profit organization that promotes
the concept of crime prevention and encourages joint cooperation between private security and law enforcement agencies to reduce criminal opportunity.
The conference s main event was an exercise in which a terrorist scenario was presented to a panel of private security executives and Los Angeles-area police, fire and sheriff s officials. Many of those attending the conference represented the Los Angeles first-preventer community, which includes the city s police, sheriff s and fire departments; police departments in 45 of Los Angeles County s 88 cities; 12,000 utility employees; and 45,000 security guards. All are organized under the Unified Area Command.
Prevention is the key, says LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing, commander of the LAPD s Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau. We must develop a richer intelligence picture.
To develop this picture, public safety agencies in Los Angeles County will receive a grant of almost $7 million from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. If someone is wanted, he will be seen on cameras, which will be tied into a regional command center in downtown Los Angeles, and will be widespread throughout the county.
Police departments and private security have the same goal, to protect the people they serve, says Sam Brinkley, vice president for Homeland and International Security Services with Wackenhut Services of Arlington, Va. Most of them have mutually supportive roles. They must work together to get the full effect of a security system.
The idea of this conference is to increase both private security and law officers awareness of the planning process leading to a terrorist attack. We want to give them tools to work together, Brinkley says.
For more information on LEAPS, visit www.laleaps.org .
Alan Kouns is a freelance writer living in Southern California.