When the federal Border Patrol needed help keeping an eye on Maine’s remote Boundary Mountains around the time of the last presidential election, state police, game wardens and local police filled the bill. The program, Operation Stonegarden, illustrated how local, state and federal agencies strived for cooperation in bolstering homeland security after 9/11, reports the Portland Press Herald. Maine officials hope to continue the program, supported by federal grants.
“The game wardens are the best eyes and ears we have,” said one Maine official. “They know who’s out of place, and who belongs there and who doesn’t.” Operation Stonegarden is an example of a national strategy begun four years ago to improve coordination among law enforcement in various levels of government, through offices called “fusion centers.”
The program is now operating in 43 states.