Firefighters’ roles as a first responder and an emergency medical service allow for unique access to people and information, which can generate invaluable tips and leads. Because the presence and effectiveness of firefighters mitigate the impact of a terrorist incident involving massive human casualties, terrorists have historically conducted preoperational planning that target firefighting agencies in order to limit the effectiveness of their reaction capabilities.
The Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) is designed to be a nationally interconnected program of designated law enforcement officers, firefighters, military, and other first responders that attend an approved and accredited course of instruction. This shared learning experience prepares the TLOs to fill a specific role within their organization as a link or “liaison.” The TLO program was initiated in California via the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) around 2005-2006 by a Anthony Lukin. According to several proposals for the program, Fusion Centers in California “utilize the Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) Program to foster communication and collaboration amongst the fire service; law enforcement; the federal homeland security and intelligence communities and public safety stakeholders. The TLOs serve as the conduit through which homeland security and crime-related information flows from the field to the Fusion Center for assessment and analysis. The network also serves as the vehicle to carry actionable intelligence from the Fusion Center to field personnel. This information flow provides for increased safety and security for fire department personnel as well as the communities served.”