KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
The senseless violence in Paris and San Bernardino, CA, are clear reminders that terror can strike anywhere, which is why places like Kansas City have a command center on guard against it.
In the Century Tower building in northeast Kansas City is the Kansas City Terrorism Early Warning Fusion Center. There a constant stream of data is analyzed to determine if there is a credible threat, whether it's locally, regionally or across the country.
There are 78 fusion centers across the country.
"The whole concept is to ensure nothing falls through the cracks," said Sgt. Robert Wynne, the deputy director of the KCTEW Fusion Center.
Wynne has been there since it opened in 2007. The world has changed a lot in those eight years.
The recent San Bernardino and Paris attacks are fresh in everyone’s minds and people are realizing that terrorism is a real threat, wherever you live.
It's the job of experts at the fusion center to comb through a constant stream of information and determine what threats are credible and where the metro might be vulnerable.
"The World Series, the parade, St. Patrick’s Day parade. Any major event in the city we look at the totality of the incident for any vulnerability and try to fill the gap to reduce the vulnerability," Wynne said.
But the work goes beyond prevention to detection. Information discovered at the center might be sent to a fusion center elsewhere for further analysis. Or it might go directly to the FBI or homeland security.
"Information, regarding terrorism in all aspects. Fundraising, recruiting, radicalization process, that covers the whole country so there's information out there and it's our job to discern what is actionable and what is not," Wynne said.
In the recent San Bernardino shootings a neighbor told the media she was suspicious of the couple who carried out the attack, but was afraid to report those suspicions for fear of being called a racist. Wynne said that's exactly the kind of tip he and his team would look into. He said that’s the kind of tip that could save lives.
"If someone where to call the TIPS Hotline, that info would be flagged for us and then we would start the analyzing here and bring other people in as necessary,” he said.
Wynne enforces that, if you see something, say something. Calls can always be made to the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (8477). Those tips could prevent an act of terror across the country or even right across town.
"We don't want the public to lose track of how important it is to call in information they feel is suspicious in nature," Wynne said.
For more information about the fusion center and its privacy policies go to KCTEW.org.