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Protecting "The Perimeter": Innovative Funding Ideas Keep Metro Atlanta Protected and Prepared

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 34 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2007 Pages: 70,72,77
Linda Spagnoli
Date Published
August 2007
7 pages
This article describes how Metro-Atlanta is using various Federal and private grants to improve its security against crime and terrorist attacks.
Police Chief Richard Pennington faces challenges similar to other major metro areas in complying with U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. The goal is to protect Atlanta's critical infrastructure while maintaining a low crime rate. Progress toward this goal is managed largely through the Atlanta Police Department's weekly meeting of command staff and personnel involved in special operations and airport security. This regimen is called the Command Operations Briefing to Revitalize Atlanta (COBRA). At COBRA meetings, participants identify areas with high criminal activity, using overhead screens and new crime-mapping technology. Each commander shares information, reports, and intelligence from within the city and in surrounding counties. Participants also identify the type of equipment needed to counter crime and address security issues. Atlanta currently receives Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant assistance. UASI grant funding was used to enhance airport security between 2004 and 2006. With approximately $3 million in UASI funding, Atlanta's Homeland Security Section has assessed the city's security needs for its critical infrastructure. The Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority has received approximately $2 million annually for new security initiatives and maintenance. Atlanta is currently adding more privately funded surveillance cameras to an existing surveillance system in major population and commerce areas. The next objective is to synchronize police efforts and incident response among the law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in the areas where surveillance systems exist. This includes improved communications among these agencies. Other areas that have received funding are K-9 investigations of suspicious packages at the airport, as well as the construction of a new public safety center that will house a joint operations/emergency center.