NASHVILLE, TENN.— Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke visited the Tennessee Fusion Center (TFC) where she met with TFC staff and law enforcement as well as homeland security executives from the state of Tennessee. She also received an operational brief and tour of the facility. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam joined Acting Secretary Duke at the facility.
The TFC routinely collaborates with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to share intelligence and support investigative efforts. In particular, the TFC has shared unique state and local law enforcement data – such as information available in their state gang database – to support a range of efforts including human trafficking, fraudulent identities, narcotics smuggling, and counterterrorism. This information has led to the arrests of human smugglers and traffickers, wanted fugitives, and individuals attempting to exploit minors, and has also provided unique insights on trends and tactics related to illegal narcotics across the state of Tennessee. For example, earlier this year the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced the arrests of more than 42 individuals for their involvement in human trafficking. This operation, known as “Someone Like Me,” was a joint effort with ICE/HSI, TBI, the Memphis Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, prosecutors with the Shelby County District Attorney’s office and nonprofits. Additionally, information shared by the TFC has supported the identification and watchlisting of known or suspected terrorists.
“Fusion centers were established post-9/11 across the country to facilitate coordination among national security partners, and are a critically important method for DHS to share information and analysis with our state and local partners,” said Acting Secretary Duke. “Their grassroots intelligence and analytic efforts better position our country to identify and address emerging trends and threats, especially at the local level, and allows us to mutually support state and federal investigations.”
The brief provided to Acting Secretary Duke during the visit discussed Tennessee’s collaboration with the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis, as well as ICE/HSI on various investigations involving gangs, human trafficking, as well as their efforts to dismantle criminal organizations importing illegal narcotics such as methamphetamine and fentanyl into the U.S. ICE/HSI attributed much of their success in Tennessee to their strong partnerships with the TBI, the TFC, the Tennessee Highway Patrol, and other agencies across the State. Throughout Tennessee, DHS components work together with their state and local partners daily to ensure the safety and security of the 6.5 million people who live there.