Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Forces: “Constant Readiness”
Las Vegas CBS KXNT – Homeland Security is a full-time focus for Southern Nevada law enforcement, according to the Las Vegas Metro police department. Deputy Chief Jim Owens told reporters on Tuesday that the region’s public safety agencies are in a constant state of readiness for an event of the type that happened at the Boston Marathon this week.
There are 17 agencies working together in the region at a counter-terror fusion center that’s in constant contact with federal and international security agencies. Information flows into the center, and is pushed out to the public safety agencies in the Las Vegas Valley, Owens said.
Concerns about the Las Vegas Strip as a potential target for terrorist events are not taken lightly. Our own annual marathon is among the biggest events of the year, drawing 300 thousand people to the Strip on New Year’s Eve, Owens said. The security planning for that event is starting now, months in advance, and the effort intensifies during the event.
“We have mobile teams just watching for anything out of line,” he said. “We have quick response team to anything we would see — abandoned packages, anything like that.”
But Owens says the effort is year-round, and around the clock, not just deployed for major events.
“We want our visitors to feel safe,” he said. “They are safe. And that makes people feel better, seeing police on the streets.”
Citizens also have a role to play, Owens said, citing the “if you see something, say something” campaign. Something that’s urgent should be reported to 911. But ongoing or non-emergency concerns also need to be reported to the fusion center, where phones are manned around the clock.
The phone number at the Southern Nevada fusion center is 702-828-7777.