Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Open Door Policy - Nov. 25, 2008

I want to start off by wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone gets to spend the holiday with friends and family. I know we are going to have a pretty quiet Thursday since we lost dad, but it will get a little louder on Saturday as my family is very divided in support between OU and OSU. Thanksgiving will also be another day of mixed emotions as Monday would have been my father's 82nd birthday and he would have been proud to see our newest family addition born on that same day. My nephew Chris and his wife, Melissa, welcomed their first child to the world at about 2:30 in the afternoon and she is a 7 lb, 5 oz healthy baby girl.
I'm getting back into the swing of business at the Capitol as I will be working on the eight bills that I will carry this next session. We have the staff preparing the language on the legislation right now and I hope to write more about them in the coming weeks and would appreciate your input on the subjects. Most of the subjects were requests from folks in the district.
On Monday, I had the privilege of touring Oklahoma's newest addition to homeland security and one of the few instances where we see a proactive approach to handling situations. There has been a nationwide push to create centers to collect and relay information regarding potential terrorist activity and ours is called the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center (OIFC). This is a collaborative effort between local, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies, public safety agencies and the private industry all working together as a central hub of intelligence information.
This center requests that if you see any of the seven signs regarding terrorism or suspicious activities, please contact the local law enforcement, Crime Stoppers or the OIFC. The signs are:
1. Surveillance - recording or monitoring of activities;
2. Elicitation - gathering of information about infrastructure, people or military operations;
3. Tests of Security - attempts to measure reaction time or penetrate barriers;
4. Acquisition of Supplies - purchase or theft of dangerous equipment or uniforms;
5. Suspicious Persons Out of Place - people who do not belong in a secured area;
6. Dry Runs/Trial Runs - putting people in place without committing the act; and
7. Deployment of Assets - getting into position to commit an act of terrorism.
While we do not want persons to overreact in situations, we certainly also want suspicious activities reported to avoid any potential threats to our safety. This proactive approach allows for "connecting the dots" with information gathered through law enforcement, media, private industry and citizens to search for clues or indicators of potential terrorist activity.
OIFC is an "all crimes, all hazards" center that will attempt to evaluate data and discern if there is a threat to Oklahomans, even on activities in other parts of the world. OIFC is partly funded through a grant from the federal government where Intelligence Analysts from various areas located throughout the state develop relationships with private sector businesses to build partnerships for issue sharing and distribution of alerts in cases of potential threats. I can see a great deal of good coming from this center to protect us from harmful acts. Should you have further questions or wish to report some suspicious activity, you can contact the OIFC at (405) 842-8547 or at on the Internet.
It is an honor to represent your views at the State Capitol. If you wish to contact me and discuss one of these or another issue, I can be reached at my office in Oklahoma City toll-free at 1-800-522-8502, or directly at 1-405-557-7305. My e-mail address is at work. My mailing address is PO Box 559, Rush Springs, OK 73082 and my website is on the Internet. Thank you for taking time to read this column and I look forward to seeing you soon.

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