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2011 column image: 
2011 column title: 

Remembering 9-11, Ten Years Later

2011 column date: 
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
2011 column text: 
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen

MADISON — Ten years ago on a beautiful Tuesday morning, while many of us went about our daily routine, our lives were forever changed. From small communities across Wisconsin to our nation's biggest of cities, Americans were awakened to a new reality that continues today.


As we solemnly remember the events of 9-11, we'll collectively pause to mourn the dead and to honor the heroes. And in the face of this “new normal,” we'll also keep up the fight to preserve our beloved freedoms and opportunity because those who commit such acts of violence hope to paralyze us and destroy our way of life.


Some of us will fight by leading our lives unafraid of the threat of terror; others, by serving on the front lines and, in some cases, sacrificing their lives to protect ours.


Here in Wisconsin, the rigors of constant vigilance and the threat of impending terrorist attacks seem far away. Our state is insulated from many natural disasters, why would anyone come here to create a man-made one?


But, as a state and community, we've come together to improve further the basic elements that help protect us from what would've seemed unimaginable a decade ago. With the necessity of heightened security to fight terrorism, we have better trained law enforcement, fire fighters and EMS. They are considered our “first preventers.”


They're the ones who respond to the “run of the mill” events, yet have a well developed instinct for what doesn't seem “right.”

Through better information and intelligence sharing, threat specific training for emergency personnel, public sector partnerships and education of the citizenry, we're working together every day to make our state a safer place.


The Office of the Attorney General and the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) are active partners in programs across the state to better protect our citizens and pursue those who would seek to do harm. For example, The Wisconsin Statewide Information Center (WSIC) is the state's designated intelligence fusion center. The primary goal of the WSIC is to bring together multiple sources of information to be assessed by criminal analysts who are trained at spotting trends that could indicate criminal or terrorist activity.


Additionally, the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Madison and Milwaukee have special agents from the DOJ's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) assigned to work with other task force members to conduct counter terrorism investigations threatening Wisconsin.


The DOJ also commits all necessary personnel, systems and effort to work with other partners assigned to the Governor's Homeland Security Council.

Much has changed since terrorists unleashed their assault inside of our borders, but what remains, and always will remain, is the grassroots sense of resolve and determination that makes us all proud to be an American. Thank you.