In the years since 9/11,
the federal government has encouraged local communities to serve as its
eyes and ears in an effort to prevent further terrorist attacks. The
Homeland Security Department on Monday kicked off its latest plan to
support the efforts of local law enforcement and emergency responders by
designating Cincinnati as the initial site for its Regional Technology Integration
As part of the program, Cincinnati and three other yet-to-be-named
cities will receive $10 million to invest in what Homeland Security calls
"advanced and innovative" concepts for emergency preparedness and public
The purpose of the funding is to help these cities investigate
private-sector technology that can quickly make an impact on efforts to
combat terrorism and neutralize biological or chemical attacks, says a
Homeland Security Department spokesman. "The goal here is not for the
cities to develop the technologies themselves but to look to technology
already being developed by industry," he says. Researchers and scientists
will then conduct internal research regarding the effectiveness of
technology available and issue reports that can be disseminated to other
cities for their own homeland security programs.
Cincinnati will invest $500,000 to renovate a building in its Knob Hill
neighborhood that will serve as a command center in the event of terrorist
attack, according to a report Monday in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Homeland Security chose Cincinnati as the initial pilot site for the
program for several reasons. The city already participates in the
department's Urban Area Security Initiative, a program through which
Homeland Security last year alone made about $4 billion available to 30
urban areas in the United States to help them protect critical
infrastructure, ports, and mass transit against terrorist attacks.
Cincinnati, which in fiscal 2003 received nearly $8 million through the
Urban Area Security Initiative, is already home to the National Homeland
Security Research Center. The center was created in late 2002 to
coordinate different research efforts, including the development of ways
to clean contaminated buildings, protect drinking water supplies, and
improve risk-assessment techniques.
The department's goal in choosing Cincinnati and the other three
Regional Technology Integration pilot sites is to create prototype
technology that can be used in other cities with similar characteristics.