February 15, 2016 9:15 AM
Representative Barry Loudermilk (R, GA-11) recently introduced a bill that would increase involvement by local law enforcement in the fight against terrorism. H.R 4401, also known as the “Amplifying Local Efforts to Root out Terrorism (ALERT) Act of 2016,” is also intended to improve coordination between all levels of law enforcement and raise awareness of the threat posed by terrorism.
Specifically, the ALERT Act would do three things. First, it would authorize the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to train local and state law enforcement personnel in the most effective tactics and methods used to counter terrorism.” Second, it would direct DHS to coordinate with other Federal agencies to engage in community outreach intended to counter violent extremism and also provide “community awareness briefings.” Finally, it would require DHS to report the findings of their counter-terrorism efforts, and ensure DHS assesses the number of clearances they sponsor for state and local law enforcement.
In a statement, Representative Loudermilk said,
“Our local law enforcement is crucial to our national security, and they are too often overlooked as a valuable asset infighting against acts of terrorism. That’s why I introduced the ALERT Act – to provide training, improve coordination, and increase community awareness of the foreign fighter threat. This bill evolved from months of research and investigation, as a member of the Committee on Homeland Security’s Foreign Fighter Task Force. As the threats against America by radical Islamists increases, fighting terrorism cannot be a singular effort, conducted by one element of our federal government; it requires the cooperation and coordination of multiple levels of all governments, and local community participation. My legislation will not, in itself, end the threat of terrorism against our nation, but it will add to the critical resources already in our communities.”
The Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX) is a co-sponsor of the ALERT Act and released the following statement in support of the bill:
“Representative Loudermilk’s bill fills dangerous security gaps and will better protect the homeland. I applaud Rep. Loudermilk’s leadership on the Foreign Fighter Task Force, and his forward leaning approach in keeping America safe.”
On February 2, the ALERT Act was passed out of the Committee on Homeland Security and sent to the full House for consideration.
The full text of the ALERT Act may be found here.