Maj. Steve Garcia Describes Colorado Fusion Center
My name is Steve Garcia. I am a major with the Colorado State Patrol.
The CIAC is the state of Colorado’s fusion center. We have representatives from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, local law enforcement, local emergency managers, local firefighters.
And they all come together and they share information, and they fuse it together to create a counterterrorism environment and information-sharing environment across the state of Colorado and across the region.
The JTTF here in Denver is the investigative arm of the fusion center. So I’ll give you an example: a tip or lead may come in from a citizen who will utilize our website. Because if you were to Google Homeland Security—or Colorado Homeland Security—our website pops up. They type in a tip or a lead or a suspicious incident that they view. Analysts vet it for credibility. And then we utilize the eGuardian system to pass that over to the Joint Terrorism Task Force for further investigation.
The Bureau is the single most important partner that we have within the fusion center. They have the ability to investigate. They are the investigative arm of the fusion center.
So take for instance last year we had over 400 tips and leads that came in from our website or our 1-800 number. Someone has to go out and investigate those leads and we are aware the lead agency for counterterrorism is the FBI.
The CIAC is actually the national model in terms of partnerships and relationships with federal agencies, in particular the FBI. Our relationship with the FBI is seamless, so much so that they’ve embedded an analyst full-time within this fusion center. And they also sit right next to the Department of Homeland Security analyst and a local analyst so that there is a seamless sharing of information that happens every single day.
Our motto here in the CIAC is that information sharing is a contact sport. You’ve got to get up and you have to talk to someone and share that information rather than just sending an e-mail or sending something over a portal.
It’s important to have that day-to-day face-to-face contact.