Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Does Indianapolis Really Need A Homeland Security Department?

The federal government created the Department of Homeland Security in response to the 9/11 attack to help guard against future terrorist attacks on American soil. The state of Indiana created its own department soon thereafter to help spend all of those federal dollars that started trickling down to support the cause. Now Public Safety Director Frank Straub has determined that the City of Indianapolis needs its own separate homeland security department, perhaps because of the job he once hoped to get in homeland security at the federal level.

Straub's former police at the New York City Police Department back in the days when Rudy Giuliani was mayor was Bernard Kerik, the guy who almost got to serve as one of President George W. Bush's first homeland security department heads. Kerik, who served a stint in Iraq as an interim Interior Minister after the U.S. invasion, withdrew his nomination one week after Bush nominated him for the post supposedly because he had once employed an illegal illegal alien as a nanny. Later, Kerik was charged and pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and lying to the Internal Revenue Service. Allegations of Kerik's misuse and misappropriation of police property and various extra-marital affairs swirled during his tenure as police commissioner.

While working for Kerik, Straub served as the New York Police Department's Deputy Commissioner of Training, where he had a staff of 750 uniform and civilian personnel. He also helped develop and implement New York Police Department-wide, first-responder training to terrorist attacks. At Indianapolis' Department of Public Safety, Straub has created a division of Homeland Security. It's technically run by Gary Coons, the former Perry Township Trustee who traded a job with the City last year for his support of the merger of the township's fire department into IFD. Coons really wanted the job that Straub got, but he had to settle for second best.

Sources say Straub is using the Division of Homeland Security to place cronies who he knows will be loyal to him. Straub has been plucking certain officers from the fire and police departments and placing them under this division, thereby bypassing their normal chain of command within their respective departments. One police lieutenant, for example, got a $20,000 pay boost without a change in rank to move over to Straub's realm. Critics say Straub is creating his own secret police agency within this unit since he can't control the rank-and-file police officers from his position as he would like. Critics also complain that he's wasting a lot of taxpayer dollars that could be more effectively used elsewhere. With the City facing a lot of tough budget decisions next year due to the precipitous drop in revenues, people are questioning Straub's spending priorities. The City-County Council should be asking some tough questions as it begins work on the 2011 city budget.


Concerned Taxpayer said...

At the State Fair, there is a tent w/ Homeland Security personnel, etc.
I assume it is for the state of Indiana. Then we have the national Homeland Security.
Yep, Frank, I can see why we would also need an Indianapolis branch.
AI, is there a way to get the roster of personnel so we can see who Frank's rats are?
Or is that a "NATIONAL SECURITY" secret?

Gary R. Welsh said...

That sounds like a good task for one of the paid media to look into.

Downtown Indy said...

Homeland security is a bit disturbing to me, and getting more so. They are looking more like a national police force that routinely makes up 'laws' to detain and arrest people for alleged 'possible terrorist' reasons. Added to that, things unrelated to anti-terrorism are being placed under the umbrella.

Blog Admin said...

The Washington Post is running an excellent series of articles on homeland security. It basically reveals no one knows how many organizations are really all involved, who knows what and who is accountable, how much is being spent, or how much safer we really are due to doing all this.


Indy4U2C said...

Straub needs to go!

He's wasting our tax money on frills and outrageous things. New office suite for himself, enlarged staff for himself, wants to rent Eastgate Mall (in our city's tornado alley), wants to buy a school for police & fire that isn't located near major highways, wants to sell our Fire Headquarters (think there's more than a pat on the back for that one).

This guy is big-budget, tax & spend. He's not about safety, as he's not hiring police, not equippin them and not letting them go to training that has a fee.

Mayor Ballard, you won't get my support any further unless you get rid of Straub.

Jon E. Easter said...

I am of the mind that we don't need a Homeland Security Department at all. I believe we should have given that money to the FBI, CIA, NSA, and the Secret Service as well as pushing it out to local law enforcement.

Stopping terrorism is police work. That's the best way to defend the homeland is to empower our law enforcement around the U.S.

Marycatherine Barton said...

We absolutely do not need a homeland security department and I adamantly do not want one, and am glad to argue my view with anyone that is not an idiot or a traitor.

american patriot said...

>>They are looking more like a national police force<<

A Stability Police Force for the United States

It would be interesting to see what the Indy HS folks think the major terrorist targets are, and how they think they can mitigate their vulnerabilities.

Speedway feels the track is a major target, hence the effort to close down Georgetown road and move 16th street.

They also managed to convince the city to close down Grande Ave to prevent a bombing of the Allison plants on 10th street, even though a vehicle with explosives can still get within about 50' of the plant by driving behind the gas station at the corner.