Oklahoma University awarded $490,000 DHS anti-terrorist grant

The Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center was recently awarded $490,000 to study various means of improving the identification of potential terrorist threats.

OUHSC researchers plan to collaborate with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland on a project that will evaluate how law enforcement officers manage situational awareness to collect and analyze intelligence related to potential threats, according to OUDaily.com.

"Law enforcement officers are transforming from first responders to first preventers serving on the frontlines of counterterrorism," OUHSC's principal investigator Dr. James L. Regens said, ChickashaNews.com reports. "Intelligence collection and analysis are key to identifying and disrupting terrorist planning," he said. "This research will help improve understanding the 'what to report,' as well as the 'what if' and 'so what.'"

Regens pointed to the attempted car bombing of Times Square in May 2010 as a good example of how a successful intervention occurs. Street vendors first noticed a suspicious vehicle in the area and alerted a police officer, who then determined immediate backup was warranted.

For the study, which is scheduled to last two years, the researchers plan to utilize non-classified law enforcement agency reports and procedures, as well as scenario-based exercises.