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Beat Cops Get Access to Federal Terror Data

June 03, 2004  | 

A pilot program will give cops on the street in New York and Vermont speedy electronic access to federal data on suspects in an effort to fight domestic terrorism.

Local law enforcement officers will be privy to the databases of the FBI, CIA, State Department, immigration services, and other federal agencies. It is intended to improve communication between federal and local agencies, which has been highly criticized in recent years.

In fact, information is meant to flow both ways in this program, with local police relating their findings back to the federal level, as well.

“The fight against terrorism cannot be battled by the federal government alone,” said New York Gov. George Pataki. “We must empower state and local police to help our federal partners detect, prevent, and deter acts of terror.”

If a patrol officer believes he has information on terrorist activities and he has security clearance, he can send the information to Washington. To prevent such data from reaching the public, the information will be processed through the Upstate New York Regional Intelligence Center, which is responsible for both New York and Vermont.

If the pilot program is successful, it will be expanded to other New England states, with a nationwide program as the ultimate goal.

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