Southwestern Police Chief Becomes the First in Central Texas to Participate in New Government Anti-terrorism Program
Terrorism isn’t something that Southwestern Police Chief Deborah Brown likes to think about. And she admits that a small college like Southwestern is unlikely to be the victim of a terrorist attack.
But she is prepared nevertheless.
Brown recently became the first police chief in central Texas to become certified to use a new database the government has set up to help law enforcement agencies at all levels share information with each other. The database, which is called eGuardian, was set up as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks when it became apparent that government agencies weren’t sharing information with each other about possible terrorists and suspicious activity.
Brown heard about eGuardian while attending a continuing education program for police chiefs this summer in north Texas. “As soon as I got back, I put in an application to get approved for it,” she said.
Brown received the necessary security clearance to participate in the program and recently attended a half-day workshop in Dallas to learn how to use the database.
Brown can now go into the eGuardian system and see where in Texas there have been terrorist threats. Likewise, if she sees something suspicious, she can enter it into the database.
“I don’t expect to have anything at Southwestern, but Austin and Fort Hood are not very far away,” she said. “Part of my job is to know what is going on up and down the I-35 corridor. The more I know, the more I can keep Southwestern a safe community.”
Although Brown was the first police chief in central Texas to be approved for the program, she expects that others will join soon.
“This gives each police department the information they need, no matter how big or small they are,” she said.
As a participant in the eGuardian program, Brown will receive information on terrorist threats that are unique to colleges and universities. She said this will help her prepare her staff for emergencies.
Brown said she expects other Southwestern police officers will become approved to use the system in the coming years.