Federal funding is drying up for fusion centers in Wisconsin, links to a national intelligence network created to thwart terror attacks like the Boston Marathon bombing, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Wisconsin Statewide Information Center in Madison, operated by the state Department of Justice, has been the state’s primary fusion center since 2006, said Dana Brueck, spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office. The center is responsible for more than foiling terrorism plots and offering homeland security expertise. It provides criminal investigative and prosecutorial support throughout the state, offers law enforcement training, houses the Clearinghouse for Missing and Exploited Children and Adults and provides specialized electronic surveillance statewide. Its primary funding has come from a portion of the state’s Homeland Security Grant program allocation. The state’s overall allocation has decreased 88% since fiscal year 2005.
The Intelligence Fusion Center in Milwaukee, which received much media attention after the Boston attacks, consists of two agencies: the Milwaukee Police Department’s Intelligence Fusion Center and the Southeast Wisconsin Threat Analysis Center. Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said that, as the federal money dries up, his biggest concern is maintaining technology. “We’re already using department funds to pay the salaries, so the people (in the fusion center) are already on the payroll. The challenge for us will be updating hardware and software because obviously there won’t be any equipment money available,” Flynn said. More than 1,400 FBI cases have been opened up as a result of information from fusion centers.