N.Y. unveils counterterror net

New York state officials unveiled an intelligence network Jan. 29 that eventually will enable local law enforcement agencies statewide to share information electronically in the fight against terrorism. Officials said it is the first of its kind in the nation.

The Counter-Terrorism Network (CTN) will be deployed in the state's 16 law enforcement zones in a pilot program. Initially, the system will send out electronic alerts to recipients who will be provided with a stand-alone, flat-screen computer system.

The second phase will establish two-way communication between local law enforcement agencies and the state Office of Public Security (OPS).

Eventually, all 543 local police departments will have access to the CTN. Other organizations, including private corporations and those responsible for protecting critical infrastructure, also will be linked to the network.

"More than 70,000 state and local law enforcement professionals patrol the streets of New York state every day, and making them a part of our counter-terrorism efforts will help make all New Yorkers safer and more secure," Gov. George Pataki said in a prepared statement. "This pilot program will ensure that the critical and relevant data collected through our nation's vast intelligence network is filtered down to the cops walking beats from Buffalo to Binghamton to Babylon."

The state (www.state.ny.us) expects to spend $100,000 for the pilot program. Officials expect the cost to reach about $2 million when fully implemented.

The OPS developed the system, which was designed by IBM Corp., in collaboration with the state police, the New York State Association of Police Chiefs and the New York State Association of Sheriffs. The OPS was established in October 2001 to coordinate all state efforts to detect, respond to and prevent terrorist acts.

In other news, Pataki tapped James Dillon to become the state's first chief information officer. Dillon is the former acting commissioner and executive deputy commissioner of state Department of Labor. Dillon's responsibilities include oversight of state technology resources and policies, and he will coordinate and facilitate information sharing among federal, state and local governments.

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