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 WV Intelligence Fusion Center honored for 10th anniversary

3/16/2018

March 16, 2018

W.Va. Intelligence Fusion Center honored for 10th anniversary

 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – It helps police locate killers and unmask multi-state crime rings. It thwarts human traffickers and aids keeping crowds safe at Bridge Day, the national Scout jamboree and other events. And on Saturday, the W.Va. Intelligence Fusion Center marks its first decade of service.

 

Governor Jim Justice has honored the Fusion Center’s for its 10th anniversary with a proclamation, presented on Friday to Director Jessica Griffith by Deputy Chief of Staff Ann Urling.

 

The Fusion Center was formed on March 17, 2008 to apply a bitter lesson from Sept. 11. As a result, an array of local, state and federal law enforcement and public safety agencies as well as private sector partners now share information, resources and expertise. This approach harnesses their respective strengths to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to all hazards – including but not limited to terrorist and criminal activity.

 

Also taking part in Friday’s ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion were U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, who was governor when the Fusion Center began, and Secretary of State Mac Warner, who has enlisted the center in his mission to defend digital democracy.

 

“The West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center is extremely proud of the dedicated service by its men and women both past and present,” Governor Justice wrote. “During the past decade, the Fusion Center has been nationally recognized countless times for its accomplishments.”

 

Governor Justice also signed an Executive Order last month declaring, for the first time, the Fusion Center to be a criminal justice entity – a critical designation under federal law that enhances its capabilities.

 

The analysts and specialists who staff the Fusion Center routinely provide effective, behind-the-scenes assistance both in the Mountain State and across the country. The center’s numerous successes including locating the killers of a North Carolina couple as they drove through West Virginia, and a Putnam County homicide suspect after he had fled to a Boston suburb; linking a bogus check to a multi-state fraud ring targeting casinos; and educating everyone from law enforcement to hairdressers on how to spot would-be human traffickers and their victims.

 

Recent achievements include helping law enforcement identify more than 70 persons of interest and multiple drug trafficking operatives to aid the fight against the opioid crisis and resulting crime in Huntington.

 

The Fusion Center’s well-honed skill sets and high-tech tools play similarly critical roles in preventing or avoiding hazards. It helps conduct pre-event threat and security assessments and then provides on-site support for all manner of gatherings, from the Greenbrier Classic and this winter’s congressional retreat at the resort to Bridge Day and the jamborees hosted at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

 

Much of this assistance occurs below-the-radar and without fanfare. But the Fusion Center’s contributions to public safety and homeland security have still been recognized by numerous organizations and partners, including the U.S. Attorneys for both of West Virginia’s federal court districts and the International Association of Special Investigation Units.

 

Director Griffith, a veteran analyst for the office, became just the second person to earn that title last month. She succeeded Thom Kirk, whose hiring in 2008 marked the center’s creation. Kirk was also honored at Friday’s ceremony, and remains Deputy Secretary and General Counsel of the W.Va. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. The Fusion Center is part of WV DMAPS.

 

“During its 10-year history, the Fusion Center has accomplished so much behind the scenes,” said DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy. “The Fusion Center concept is simple in its purpose of protecting Americans from domestic and international threats to our way of life, but complex in its methods to achieve those goals. The citizens of West Virginia owe it a world of thanks.”

 

 

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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 558-2930 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov