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Administration developing 'national terror alert' system

Homeland Security  Director Tom Ridge
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge  


By Christy Brennan and Kelly Wallace
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Homeland Security Office hopes to unveil a national program early next year that would establish a ranking system for terrorism alerts, a government official said Friday.

"The idea is to provide... a blueprint" to help local and state agencies know how to "deploy resources when a threat is issued," said Gordon Johndroe, a Homeland Security Office spokesman.

After the administration issued alerts following the September 11 attacks, Johndroe said, many local and state officials asked, "We are on alert, what do we do?"

One option under consideration is a national alert system similar to one California Gov. Gray Davis proposed for California.

VIDEO
CNN's Susan Candiotti examines how the U.S. government is handling informing the public of potential terrorism threats (December 15)

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In November, Davis announced he was looking into a multi-stage terror alert system for California. The state used a three-stage alert system during the energy crisis that advised Californians when to cut back on their energy use to avoid rolling blackouts.

Davis, who met Thursday with Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, said he suggested a national four-stage alert system "so that everybody would be on the same page. Every citizen, every mayor, every police chief would know the seriousness which we attach to a given threat."

Davis said Ridge asked him to delay his proposal for California so that he could look into it as a potential national model for an alert system to put in place nationwide.

Another option Ridge is considering is a five-stage alert system proposed by the International Association of Police.

Davis said Ridge hoped to have his proposal in place by January 15.



 
 
 
 



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