Police Chiefs Praise DHS for New Terror Alert System
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the new National Terrorism Threat Advisory System (NTAS). The new system, to replace the color coded Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS), will more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
IACP President Mark Marshall, Chief of the Smithfield, VA Police Department, praised the new system saying, “The IACP strongly supports this initiative and fully recognizes the need for the system to be updated. Over the past several years, DHS and its intelligence section has greatly enhanced the information being disseminated to state, local and tribal law enforcement and has, in turn, allowed law enforcement to be better informed. We now have more timely, credible and operationally relevant information; and because of these great strides, the color-coded system is no longer needed.”
The IACP participated in the Homeland Security Alert System Task Force, the group which made the recommendations for the alert system changes. Under the new system, DHS will issue formal, detailed alerts when it receives information about a specific or credible terrorist threat. These alerts will include a clear statement that there is an “imminent threat” or “elevated threat.” The alerts also will provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals and communities, businesses and governments can take.
According to DHS, NTAS alerts will be based on the nature of the threat: in some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels. Alerts will also have an official expiration date to fully communicate the scope and duration of the threat.
The new alert system will be implemented in the next 90 days and completed by April. The IACP will continue to be involved and work with DHS during the transition period.
For more information on the National Terrorism Advisory System, visit www.dhs.gov/alerts.