Los Angeles and Orange County law enforcement authorities will be the first in line nationally for a new electronic information system that will swiftly provide the latest intelligence on terrorists' techniques and explosives.
The technology from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will be demonstrated at a news conference in Los Angeles today. It is intended to help first responders and investigators who aren't bomb experts to identify new and sophisticated explosive devices.
"We can't secure America in Washington. We need to give the capability to local officials," said George W. Foresman, an undersecretary with the Department of Homeland Security.
In an interview, Foresman said Los Angeles and Orange County were chosen to launch the technology partly because of the region's array of antiterrorism initiatives that have put it at the forefront of such efforts nationally.
The system is called TRIPwire, or Technical Resource for Incident Prevention.
Within minutes, it will bring to computers of law enforcement officers information on explosive devices gathered around the country and from such foreign sources as Iraq, Israel and London.
One aim, Foresman said, is to protect local first responders from becoming casualties of bombs. He noted that terrorists often plant a second explosive device to injure police and firefighters arriving after an initial blast.
Along with detailed information on explosives, the system will include thousands of pages of information about tips on potential future attacks.
"A wide range of countermeasures will be part of the information to be provided on the system," Foresman said.
The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County and Orange County sheriff's departments are receiving the technology, which will relay information via secured Internet connections.
Foresman said another key reason that Homeland Security officials chose Los Angeles to roll out the system is LAPD Chief William J. Bratton's willingness to partner with federal agencies to address potential threats.
He described Bratton as "a progressive police chief" in fighting terrorism threats.