Each year more than 30 million people are drawn to Nevada by Las Vegas’ luster. The self-proclaimed “Entertainment Capital of the World” is home to 18 of the world’s 25 largest hotels, and more than 19,000 conventions were held in the city in 2009. Las Vegas is without question a terrorist target. Beyond the cop on the street, there’s an effective, underlying layer of security that may be unprecedented, and it starts with the fusion center, the Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center (SNCTC), an all-hazards, 24/7 model for public-private collaboration.
In an unassuming building near McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, 14 different agencies from federal, state and local government work together toward one goal: to keep residents and tourists safe. One of three fusion centers in the state, the SNCTC stands out because it’s an all-hours operation that focuses not only on terrorism, but also on all crimes and hazards.
Conceived after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes 72 fusion centers across the nation that analyze and gather threat-related information from all levels of government. “It’s a multiagency group of folks who are sending information to their agencies and gathering it from their agencies,” said Lt. Dennis Domansky of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “It’s information sharing and looking to identify trends.”
The SNCTC opened in July 2007 and seeks to connect the dots between crimes that may look unrelated but could be precursors to a bigger event, while working with the community and tourism industry to collect information about suspicious activities. “It’s recognizing the type of trend that you might not recognize if everybody is working independently,” Domansky said.
Go to Emergency Management to read more about the Las Vegas fusion center.
Elaine Pittman worked for Government Technology from 2008 to 2017.
Jim McKay is the editor of Emergency Management magazine. He lives in Orangevale, Calif., with his daughter, Ellie, and son, Ronan. He relaxes by fly fishing on the Truckee River for big, wild trout.