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08/17/2012

TOP STORY: HSI Miami's command center plays integral operational role

HSI Miami's command center plays integral operational role
HSI Miami's command center plays integral operational role
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents have to be prepared for a variety of situations. Around the clock, you'll find them investigating crimes ranging from narcotics trafficking to human smuggling to money laundering. They are also called upon to support the Department of Homeland Security during critical incidents.

HSI Miami's command center, which also doubles as a regional emergency operations center, assists special agents with their investigative efforts. The command center, housed at the HSI Miami field office, can also handle all incidents, events or situations in accordance with standards set forth by the National Incident Management System and National Response Framework – the guidance used by both the public and private sectors when they respond to incidents and disasters.

"The HSI Miami Command Center is also regularly utilized as an impressive training venue permitting each student clear access to numerous screens and white boards in a common environment to enhance the learning experience," said Robert C. Hutchinson, deputy special agent in charge of HSI Miami. "These training sessions also permit employees and partners to learn and better understand the capabilities of the command center for operational purposes."

Since its launch, the command center has been used to execute multiple arrest and search warrants, large-scale enforcement operations and many other investigations. HSI's federal, state, local and tribal partners can also utilize the Category 5 rated command center to coordinate response efforts to hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. It can accommodate 30 or more individuals. Each person has computer, telephone, Wi-Fi and VHF radio communications access, along with access to various other communications tools.

"The HSI Miami command center has been designed for other Department of Homeland Security partner agencies to access their systems and networks to enhance and expand their operational capabilities while working with us," said Special Agent in Charge Alysa D. Erichs.

Partners like U.S. Customs and Border Protection have direct access to their information technology infrastructure from the command center. The center's technological capabilities enable federal agencies secure and immediate access to their information systems during a critical incident. 

"The command center has been a wise investment in the future, whether utilized as a command center, emergency operations center or training venue," said Hutchinson.

Learn more about HSI.