WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) today introduced legislation that would provide state and local law enforcement agencies with technology and equipment that could help to avert another 9/11.
“We are safer as a nation than we were two years ago, but there is still much room for improvement,” said Collins. “That’s why I am introducing legislation to enable our state and local law enforcement agencies to gain access to technology that will help them to detect and thwart terrorist attacks before they occur.”
Collins’ legislation, the Homeland Security Technology Improvement Act, would create a technology transfer program within the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP) to identify and transfer advanced counterterrorism technologies to state and local law enforcement agencies. The program would provide equipment and technologies to law enforcement to expand their investigative capabilities and to prevent future attacks. The bill would authorize $50 million each year for ODP to establish and run the program.
“My bill would give law enforcement officials a greater say in the development—and transfer—of technologies to help protect their communities,” said Collins, whose committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security. “Law enforcement agencies protecting borders, ports, and high-threat areas would be able to more easily secure the cutting-edge detection and monitoring equipment and technologies that they need.”
Collins noted that these technologies would fill a gap left by ODP’s traditional grant program, which cannot be used to purchase advanced technologies. The program created through her bill also would help focus homeland security research and development efforts on developing technologies that can be used to prevent future terrorist attacks.
The National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association, and the International Association of Chiefs of Police support Collins’ legislation.