DPS requested close to $16 million over the next biennium to continue operating the Texas Fusion Center, where about 100 employees now work in offices located at the DPS headquarters. The House had eliminated money for the center in its version of the appropriations bill, and the conference committee that is hashing out the 2014-15 state budget concurred in that decision Monday.Grits won't lose any sleep over this change which IMO won't harm public safety in the slightest. Even for folks lacking a civil libertarian streak, fusion centers deserve to be axed based on a cost benefit analysis alone.
A factor in that decision, according to budget documents crafted by the House, was an October 2012 report by a U.S. Senate investigative subcommittee that lambasted the fusion centers for “irrelevant, useless or inappropriate” intelligence gathering and wasteful spending on private contractors, while doing little to keep the country safer. Both the statewide fusion center and the one operated by the Austin Police Department opened toward the end of 2010, too late to be included in the Senate report.
Another issue raised in the budget documents has been the focus of much attention during this legislative session — the diversion of state money collected for one purpose to other uses. Currently the lion’s share of state funding for the DPS, $1.2 billion, comes from the highway fund.
MORE: Via PrivacySOS, "Time to shut down fusion centers altogether?"
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