The chief law-enforcement officer in Iowa’s capital city has made a case for creating a homeland security agency on a local level. Des Moines police chief Bill McCarthy asked the city council Wednesday for 1-point-4-million-dollars to hire ten more police officers, and two clerks to run an “intelligence center” that’ll link the local force with national responders. McCarthy says just because Des Moines hasn’t been a target yet — doesn’t mean it may not be in the future.
Only one city in the whole nation’s been targeted by terrorists, and that’s New York, McCarthy says. But he says everyone else is gearing up. The chief adds that bomber Timothy McVeigh had “Des Moines on his radar screen, Omaha and Oklahoma City,” before he chose the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City as his target. If he could recognize the advantage of striking in the heart of America, he says, so can the outsiders.
Chief McCarthy says the money would also be used for new equipment and training for the city’s tactical and bomb units. He says they need to be prepared for a biological attack, or weapon of mass destruction. McCarthy says the tactical unit, for example, would have to have equipment that protects each officer from biological and chemical factors complete with breathing equipment, all totaling about 40-thousand dollars worth of gear per officer. Then, they have to get training and certification in a wide variety of weaponry while wearing all that gear. Des Moines city leaders said they’ll consider the request as they prepare next year’s budget.