Nutter defends city's anti-terrorism center

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - December 19, 2012

Soon local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will be united under one roof.

SPECIAL REPORT: Is Philly's anti-terrorism center a waste of your money?

However, the facility, one of more than 70 so-called fusion centers around the country, was singled out in a bipartisan Senate report as a prime example of lax oversight and waste.

It has also raised concerns about threats to civil liberties, since much of the work done at the DVIC will be intelligence gathering.

Mayor Nutter says it's not an issue.

"Our job is to try to protect people. I'm not going to get into the details of that report, I think those kinds of ideas are wildly wrong and outlandish," Nutter said.

Eventually, 130 people will work at the DVIC coordinating the flow of information between all levels of law enforcement in five counties in three states.

Delaware County, for example, has 42 police departments.

"Everyone knows in this room that crime doesn't stop at the border of Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County; we all need to work together," Delaware County District Attorney John Whelan said.

The city of Philadelphia will spend $10-million to build the center.

An additional $11-million is coming from federal grants.

But, the five counties and three states involved haven't been asked to contribute any funding.

The city says it had to take a leadership role and the federal money wouldn't have been available without a regional partnership.

"The fact of the matter is that this center right now is proceeding ahead of construction schedule and below budget; it doesn't get much better than that," Nutter said.

Despite the nagging concerns in Washington, Mayor Nutter says once this center becomes operational in March, it will be a model for the rest of the country.

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