Local law enforcement agencies need more federal resources to help combat the threat of terrorism, they told the Senate Homeland Security committee yesterday, reports the Los Angeles Times. Recent attacks and thwarted plots against European and U.S. cities indicate a rise in homegrown terrorism, where individuals identify with violent extremism and plot to attack their home countries from within, police officials said. “No agency knows their landscape better than the local law enforcement,” said Deputy Chief Michael Downing of the Los Angeles police Counter Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau.
The FBI sponsors more than 100 joint terrorism task forces comprising federal, state and local law enforcement officials, spokesman Richard Kolko said. “On these task forces, all officers are treated equally, and all information is shared immediately. We consider it a great success.” Local officials said more could be done to improve coordination. Local agencies are sometimes excluded in intelligence-sharing out of concern over federal clearances, said Maj. Michael R. Ronczkowski of the Miami-Dade Police Department. Local law enforcement officials, he said, are far more likely than federal investigators to encounter extremists during routine duties and should be trained to handle such situations.