Phoenix PD responding to recent terrorism

Posted at 10:40 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 17:19:34-05

As the war against terrorism continues, the Phoenix Police Department is one of the few agencies in the country offering specific training for its officers on intelligence.

Under its Homeland Defense Bureau, Phoenix Police created its Intelligence Officer Program, where officers are trained on how to use military intelligence while in the field. The officers specifically learn how to access certain databases that aren't typically available to patrol officers.

Phoenix Police Lt. Pat Tortorici, who helped roll out the program, said the information gives them the ability to track people or work a dynamic scene better.

“It’s been very successful,” Tortorici said. “The bottom line is the patrol officers have learned to depend on it and it's starting to grow within the department."

Tortorici served two tours in Iraq, was an NYPD officer and is now with Phoenix Police Department.

“I've been with the department going on 19 years,” Tortorici said.              

When Tortorici is not in the field, he’s teaching future law enforcement students at Northern Arizona University, specifically focusing on military intelligence.

“Law enforcement, unlike the military, doesn’t have a specific intelligence doctrine, and that's one of the things that NAU is working on,” Tortorici said. “It has a certification program. So we are all speaking the same language.”

Tortorici works closely with NAU to develop these courses to deal with current terrorism threats. He said his biggest fear is an attack like what we saw in Mumbai, India in 2008.

"They did things specifically to throw off law enforcement's response," Tortorici said. "So when you have multiple attacks going on in different areas of the city simultaneously -- that is going to cause a problem for law enforcement to respond to all of these different things at once."

Tortorici said the Phoenix area is well-prepared compared to other areas because of large events like the Super Bowl. Several agencies, on the city, state and federal levels, trained for months to make sure communication would be seamless in case of an attack.