The federal program to standardize “suspicious activity reports” (SAR) is being taken nationwide. The Justice Department announced last week in New Orleans at the National Fusion Center annual conference that the program would be expanded to all 72 fusion centers, involving federal, state, and local law enforcement, by the end of fiscal year 2012. Previously, the program had been tested a few locations. The program’s director will be Thomas O’Reilly of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, who has been overseeing the test phase. A fusion center program office is being established in the Department of Homeland Security under Bart Johnson, Deputy Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis in DHS.
The decision means that training will be offered to all law enforcement agencies in the U.S. on how police officers should recogize the signs of possible terrorist activity and report them correctly to a national database. O’Reilly said that better reporting has been instrumental in responding to terror threats in New York, Florida, California, and Virginia. Details remain confidential. As previously reported by Crime & Justice News, current SAR test sites of Florida, New York, and Virginia and a few major cities, including Los Angeles, is due to expand soon to Alabama, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, along with Dallas, Kansas City, and Savannah, Ga. O’Reilly called the program a low-cost one, involving $35,000 at each site.