Home News Stories 2005 August The Dallas Emergency Response Network

The Dallas Emergency Response Network

Think Globally, Act Locally
Protecting Communities is a Community Effort

08/03/05

Emergency Response Network logo

What can communities do in a post-9-11 world to guard against terrorist attack?

Our Dallas field office came up with a great idea: use web technology to bring together law enforcement, the military, first responders, businesses, and community organizations in North Texas to partner and share information. The Emergency Response Network (ERN) was born.

The ERN—now led by our Dallas Field Intelligence Group—uses a website to gather and share information quickly and easily.

On the collection side, we’ve provided a fill-in-the-blank form for members of the network or the local community to file a report when they witness something suspicious. Once the form is filled in, it’s delivered with a click of a button to our Dallas office, where it’s reviewed by agents and analysts.

What kind of information have we gotten? All kinds. For example:

  • A military supply company reported possible sabotage at its facility.
  • Regarding reports of persons photographing electric transformers and other critical infrastructure equipment, we got the license plate number of a suspicious vehicle from a utility company worker.
  • Another member reported a suspicious identity theft: a company jacket, hard hat, employee identification, and day planner were stolen from a regional utility truck, leaving expensive tools untouched.
  • We’ve also had reports of people filming or photographing bridges, buildings, and other critical infrastructure—and sometimes asking questions about the types of businesses inside.
And what information do we share? The ERN allows us to relay important reports and breaking news to thousands of partners in a matter of minutes by e-mail, phone, and the Internet. Last month, for example, we quickly alerted members about the London bombings. We also post special reports in a password-protected area of the public website for the roughly 2,000 members.

The ERN has been such a success that the Department of Homeland Security piloted the concept in four Federal Emergency Management Agency regions—Dallas, Seattle, Indianapolis, and Atlanta. The pilot exceeded all of its goals and is now being rolled out nationally as the Homeland Security Information Network—Critical Infrastructure initiative.

And what does the ERN mean for North Texas and other cities across the nation? Better communication on issues relating to terror and crime. Faster and easier information sharing. Stronger partnerships. And safer communities for all.

Links: The Dallas Emergency Response Network | FBI Intelligence Program | Dallas Field Office