In the state of Washington, the Homeland Security Division of the Washington State Patrol is responsible for preventing and preparing for terrorist attacks. There are a number of units within the HSD including Vessel and Terminal Security (VATS). VATS provides security for all Washington State Ferries which transport passengers, vehicles and goods to and from islands off the coast.
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Homeland Security Division also supervises the Canine Training Unit, which prepares officers and their canine partners to detect explosives and narcotics. These canine units are utilized throughout the state including airports, seaports, and ferries. Canine units have also been assigned to local and county groups where there is a high level of narcotics trafficking. The four full time instructors and three part time instructors provide 220 hours for narcotics detection and 420 hours of specialized training for explosives detection.
The HSD also oversees the Organized Crime Intelligence Unit (OCIU), which works with law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal level to collect and analyze information about criminals and their organizations. OCIU also is involved in gang enforcement and monitoring.
An important program funded by the HSD is the Urban Area Security Initiative which provides equipment and training to local law enforcement and emergency response personnel. This includes distribution of personal dosimeters, bomb robots, and hazmat suits. Instruction includes classroom instruction involving live training, video instruction and online training. This program also provides training through the Marine Terrorism Exercise and other training scenarios.
Training and Requirements to Become a Homeland Security Professional
Washington is home to many research facilities which provide critical technologies to key industries. One of these is the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which recently posted a vacancy for a Physical Protection Specialist with the following minimum requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree with five years of experience; or a master’s degree with three years of experience; or a PhD with one or two years of experience
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Must pass a federal background investigation
- Capable of obtaining a Department of Energy security clearance
- Ability to work with managers, executives and international counterparts
- Proficiencies in security assessments, CCTV design, access control and intrusion countermeasures
- Knowledge of technical project management
- Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
- Ability to interact effectively with government officials
- Knowledge of design, operation and implementation of integrated electronic security systems
- Physical Security Professional (PSP) or Certified Protection Professional (CPP) preferred
The Emergency Management Division offers many courses and training programs for homeland security personnel. Many of these homeland security courses are sponsored by federal agencies and include
- Emergency planning for public works
- Public information officer awareness training
- Prevention and deterrence of terrorist acts
- Foundational awareness of WMD/ terrorism
- Introduction to NIMS/NRP
- Effects of Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorist incidents on mass feeding
- Disaster mental health considerations
- Preparing communities for agroterrorism
- Digital forensics basics
- Information risk management
- Cyber incident analysis and report