3TV goes behind the scenes in Arizona Counter Terrorism Watch Center

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- You rarely hear about work done by the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center, but on any given day its agents are assessing threats and analyzing information.

ACTIC as it's known is comprised of up to 125 law enforcement officers working across federal, state and local agencies to share information and assist in investigations. Their cases range from threats against schools and elected leaders, to drugs, weapons, border activity and terrorism.

"If we can identify the person before they commit the crime," ACTIC Capt. Steve Harrison said of the goal. He said there are almost always warnings and red flags.

"The takeaway I would suggest from Boston is that somebody knew something about the Tsarnaev brothers. They said something, they posted something. Nobody reported that to law enforcement,"  Harrison said. "That’s what my biggest takeaway is -- if you see or hear that information, please report it."

Harrison said while this latest act of terror doesn’t appear to have ties to Arizona, the state has a history of links to people involved in terrorist activity.

"Some of the people involved in 9/11 were here in Arizona; Timothy McVeigh was in Kingman," Harrison said. "One of our biggest concerns we have right now is anti-government extremists, the 'sovereign citizen' movement, the Jared Loughners, the lone wolves."

While ACTIC officials receive and investigate information from a variety of sources, Harrison said some of the most critical information comes from the public.

"Somebody knows something, they just don’t know what to do with it. Call us," Harrison urged.

"We hope most of the time it’s not a threat, but if it turns out to be something we may have prevented the next 9/11," Harrison said.

Harrison said ACTIC’s phones are manned 24/7. He estimates the center receives up to 150 tips each month and they’d like to receive even more.

For more information go to www.azactic.gov.

Tip line: 877-2-SAVEAZ (877-272-8329) 24 hours a day
Text Message - Text "ACT" plus your message to 274637 (CRIMES)