Texas is creating a new intelligence center to sift through information gathered by the state’s 2,685 police departments in hopes of detecting possible terrorism patterns, reports the Dallas Morning News. “A lead in a small town in Texas can have statewide, national, or international significance,” the Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan says. “Every terrorism lead must be pursued to its logical conclusion.”
The Texas Fusion Center is one facet of an ambitious new homeland security strategy to be unveiled by Gov. Rick Perry today. The five-year plan, described as a “high-level road map for our homeland security efforts,” is designed to bring together 34 state agencies and 24 regional councils to focus on preventing terrorism, protecting critical infrastructure and recovering from man-made and natural disasters. Among the plan’s elements: The use of driver’s licenses and identification cards with biometric identifiers, in this case an embedded fingerprint; an increase in law enforcement patrols along the 1,240-mile Texas-Mexico border and increased investigations of violent criminal gangs in the region; help for the state’s 1,400 school districts to conduct vulnerability assessments and improve security; creation of a database that identifies all critical infrastructure in Texas and assesses risk and vulnerability at each site; and improved surveillance of human and animal health to detect any public health outbreak or threat to the state’s $12.6 billion agriculture industry. State officials said the plan would be funded by a mix of local, state, and federal dollars.