January 8, 2011 was a sad day for Arizona when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people were shot at a rally outside a Tucson shopping mall. Six of the victims, including a nine-year-old-girl, were killed and Giffords was left in critical condition with a head wound. Ironically, two years later on January 13, 2013, five people were shot at an office complex in Phoenix just hours after Giffords appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee to make a statement supporting a gun control bill.
Arizona was closely connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and other al-Qaida events. It is known that at least one of the 9/11 conspirators received his training in Arizona, which was also the decade-long home of the mastermind behind the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania.
The Arizona Department of Homeland Security Fights Back
The mission of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security is to:
- Prevent terrorist attacks in Arizona.
- Lessen Arizona’s vulnerability to all kind of hazards.
- Improve capabilities to plan for, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks and other threats that endanger Arizona’s citizens and property.
- Administer federal homeland security grants related to terrorism prevention.
How to Become a Homeland Security Specialist in Arizona
Homeland security specialist jobs in Arizona usually require a bachelor’s degree, preferably in homeland security or emergency management. Candidates should at least have a certificate in homeland security and a few years relevant experience.
There is one junior college in Arizona that offers an A.A. in homeland security and approximately six students graduate each year with this degree. There are also numerous accredited online universities/colleges offering graduate/postgraduate degrees and certificates in homeland security.
There are currently 25,890 homeland security professionals working in the state of Arizona and the U.S, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that number will increase by 12 percent (to 29,170) by 2018. Homeland Security specialists in Arizona earn between $25,176 and $39,694 a year; however, according to the BLS, the mean annual salary for those in management positions is $71,880.
The Arizona Department of Homeland Security is located at 1700 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85008; tel., 602/364-1521.
Homeland Security Specialists at Work in Arizona
Homeland Security professionals are highly trained in all aspects of emergency management, response and recovery. They develop plans and strategies for dealing with emergencies, especially attacks by foreign or domestic terrorists. They are employed by state or local government agencies, medical facilities, private corporations, oil companies, universities and utilities companies. Ways in which homeland security specialists working for the Arizona DHS prevent terrorism include
- Detecting and mitigating bioterrorist attacks
- Countering violent extremism
- Developing better ways to secure the border with Mexico
- Protecting critical infrastructure
- Sharing information about terrorist threats with other agencies
- Protecting nuclear facilities
- Educating the public about preparedness
One specific way the Arizona DHS is increasing public awareness is through the video, “If You See Something, Say Something,” which helps the public identify potentially threatening persons or things.