Tri-State Homeland Security Protection

It's not a matter of if, but when. That's how some local homeland security officials describe the likelihood of another terror attack on American soil. So FOX 19 looked into what those officials are doing to help prevent another 9/11. Hamilton County-Cincinnati has been designated one of 50 "Urban Area Security Initiative" (UASI) communities by the federal Department of Homeland Security. These communities are receiving special grants -- in our case 12 million dollars -- because they are believed to offer attractive targets to terrorists (foreign and domestic) and because they have resources and infrastructure on which to build an effective regional terror response. Many of the steps being taken here in the Tri-State are classified, but Hamilton County Homeland Security Director Mike Snowden told us that his department is working with federal counterparts -- including the FBI -- state officials, and local police, fire, EMS, Red Cross and other agencies to build a more efficient network for response and prevention. Among the department's purchases: a command vehicle costing about $250,000, equipped with state of the art communications equipment, and special protective gear for every police officer in the county. Local officials in Ohio and Kentucky are also working with anti-terror expert James Noe, President of Critical Incident Solutions, to help identify possible targets and to train first responders. But Snowden and Noe stress that the first line of defense remains the public. They ask anyone who spots suspicious activity to call the hotline for the Regional Terrorism Early Warning Group: (513) 263-8000.