DPS' Counter Terrorism Center prepared for the worstPosted: Updated:
Tucked into a nondescript business center in north Phoenix lies Arizona's Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC). In statewide or major emergencies, the secure center is where information is quickly compiled and sent out to first responders.
"It's a fusion center to share information with law enforcement and other agencies throughout the country (and the state)," explained Arizona Department of Public Safety Capt. Fred Zumbo.
Zumbo said there are nearly 150 employees from 25 state and federal agencies inside ACTIC, and those agencies all work together when there is a time-sensitive situation.
"We can get a tip and if it's serious, we would get on it right away. We would do the research and potentially we could be on the streets within a matter of 15 minutes following up on this information," Zumbo said.
On Jan. 8, a noncustodial father abducted his 13-year-old daughter in Tempe after boosting a car in Tucson. Tempe police investigators could not get enough information about the father, Ernest Babers, so they contacted ACTIC.
"Our analyst was able to come up with pictures, booking information, suspect history, (and) police reports from Tucson police regarding this suspect," Zumbo said.
"In this case, the information that was able to be developed was so strong that they were able to issue the Amber Alert," he said.
A DPS officer near the California border saw a vehicle that matched the suspect's description and pulled over Babers, who was with the 13-year-old girl just miles from the border.
"It would be very difficult to find the person once they get into California. It would be like a needle in a haystack," Zumbo said.
The center was established in 2004. It operates on a 24/7 basis.
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