- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Jim Kouri’s assertion that local law enforcement has been shut out of homeland security decisions is simply wrong (“Obama’s disdain for blue,” Opinion, Monday). In fact, law enforcement agencies have never had a more important say in homeland security policies. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has clearly and repeatedly recognized state and local law enforcement as the most important partners of the Department of Homeland Security.

Her commitment shows. Under her leadership, the department has created several additional methods for state and local law enforcement to have direct input into homeland security policy and strategy. The secretary recently signed a management directive to elevate the Office for State and Local Law Enforcement and mandate close internal coordination with respect to all law enforcement security partners. She has ramped up support for fusion centers, where federal, state and local agencies share information and intelligence, and has significantly expanded information and training available to state and local law enforcement. At her direction, the department has included border community jurisdictions in national border enforcement strategies to an unprecedented degree.

Ms. Napolitano received a warm welcome last month while speaking to the National Sheriffs’ Association. Her new proposal for strengthening nationwide ID standards is supported by the National Security Agency and the Major Cities Chiefs Association. The secretary soon will hold her second law enforcement stakeholder summit, involving the leaders of more than 20 national law enforcement associations. California’s top homeland security official, who also chairs the National Homeland Security Consortium, was quoted just last week by Congressional Quarterly as saying that among state and local law enforcement and many other homeland security stakeholders, there is “a real consensus … Napolitano is doing an excellent job.”

These facts speak for themselves. Under the Obama administration, state and local law enforcement have a greater seat at the table than ever before.

EDMUND SEXTON

Assistant secretary for state and local law enforcement

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Washington

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