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Feds, locals unite in anti-terrorism forces

Local law enforcement officials say measures are in place to help them track radical groups and individuals and those who attempt to purchase bomb-making materials.

Federal law enforcement agencies have created bonds with local law enforcement to form Joint Terrorism Task Forces, according to Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer.

The task forces operate in 100 cities and unite the FBI, Secret Service and other federal agencies with state and local law enforcement, according to the FBI. The organizations are based out of the 56 FBI field offices and 10 smaller offices and include local and state law enforcement offices.

The concept dates back to 1979, when New York City police first worked with federal authorities on combating bank robberies.

Plummer declined to go into detail about how area law enforcement agencies work with the task forces. “Most of that stuff is classified,” he said.

Dayton police have an officer assigned to Dayton’s task force full time, said Dayton police Maj. Mark Ecton. That officer works at the Dayton FBI office.

“They determine what they’re going to do and what they’re going to respond to,” Ecton said.

Todd Lindgren, a FBI spokesman for the Cincinnati region — of which the Dayton office is a part — declined comment. A Washington, D.C. FBI spokeswoman said no one was immediately available for comment.

Radical groups, such as the Aryan Nation and individuals, are watched with federal assistance, Plummer said. “It’s certainly a group we keep an eye on.”

But one of the main bulwarks law enforcement relies on is the assistance of watchful citizens, Plummer said. Law enforcement needs citizens to pay attention to what goes on around them, he said.

“We ask anybody to be our eyes and ears for us,” he said. “If it doesn’t look right, have us check it out.”

“The highest priority of the FBI is prevention of terrorism,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Michael Brooks told the Dayton Daily News in 2007. “Among the ways of doing that is the creation of a Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of state, local and federal agencies, and those task forces are based in FBI space.”

“You’ve got these Joint Terrorism Task Forces — and now all of law enforcement is playing in the same sandbox together, which allows everyone to know what they need to know,” retired FBI Special Agent Danny Defenbaugh told Newsmax web site.

The Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center monitors “hate groups and other extremists” across the country. Today, there are 1,007 “known hate groups” at work, according to the center’s web site. Since 2000, the number of these groups has grown by 67 percent, the organization says.

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