Martha Roby: The Alabama Fusion Center is working to protect our students and schools

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Martha Roby

It’s hard to believe that the summer months are behind us and we will soon be welcoming Fall and cooler temperatures. Students across our state are working hard to make this new school year successful, and college football season is officially underway.

Since the school year is in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some important information about school and student safety I recently received during my visit to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Fusion Center a few weeks ago. For those who might not be aware, the Alabama Fusion Center exists to improve our state’s preparedness against terrorist attacks and to deter criminal activity in general. It is an information-sharing organization designed to combine – or “fuse” – information between federal, state and local governments, private sector entities, and the intelligence community.

The Fusion Center has very dedicated personnel who cover several specific areas, including the issuing of AMBER Alerts, rural crime, cybercrime, terrorism, narcotics, gangs, and human trafficking. The center is also responsible for the Alabama Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Importantly for school children, teachers, and families, the Fusion Center has a system in place to help schools know whether threats made against them are real or not.

During the 2018-2019 school year, there were more than 1,600 threats across the United States, ranging from guns brought on campus to bomb threats to actual school shootings.

During my recent visit to the Fusion Center, Director Jay Moseley explained to me that once notified of threats, the center can determine where threats are coming from and whether they pose immediate danger. The Fusion Center relies on law enforcement entities across the country as well as members of the public to alert them to suspicious activity on the Internet and social media. Director Moseley has asked the public to report anything suspicious. You can contact the Fusion Center by calling (334) 517-2660.

In addition to monitoring outside threats to schools, the Fusion Center helps train school resource officers to recognize the signs of a student who is being bullied, experiencing suicidal thoughts, and more. It is critically important for those who work with children daily to have the tools they need to identify at-risk students before the situation becomes life-threatening, and I really appreciate our Fusion Center’s work in this matter.

I always enjoy spending time with the hardworking, dedicated professionals at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Fusion Center. I appreciated their time and the informative update about the critically important work they are doing each day to combat crimes, especially those against children. These men and women are on the front lines fighting some of the most serious problems that plague our state, and I am grateful for their work. In Congress, I will do all I can to support their efforts.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.