SPEAKER

 

Program Chair Harvey Clark introduced our speaker of the day - Gil Orrantia, Director of the Arizona Department of Homeland Security.  Mr. Orrantia is a native Arizonan raised in Mesa.  He graduated from ASU with a BA degree in Education.  He became the Director in 2009 following a 26-year career in the FBI.  Gil is recognized as an expert in investigations of terrorism, drugs and violent crimes.  He was assisted in his presentation by Fernando Reyes - also of the AZDHS.
                               Gil Orrantia, Director
              
 
Director Orrantia's goal today is to give us a quick overview of his agency and some of the activities they are engaged in.  The AZDHS manages Federal Homeland Security grants to Arizona.  There are 1,000 active projects involving grants to first responders like Police and Fire Departments throughout the state.  Items like improved radios, computers and security cameras help these departments to be ready for emergencies. AZDHS assists AZ tribal groups in getting security grants as well as supporting a Bi-National Law Enforcement and Training Program with Mexico.
 
Some of the things they have to worry about and prepare for are:
Homegrown violent extremists like the Boston Marathon bombers - likely including some leaking across our southern border
Active Shooters - in school and workplaces, how to help these "soft"targets be better prepared for protecting the innocent.
Unaccompanied children influx - the Nogales processing center is heavily involved.  Even though most children come in via Texas, some do enter AZ directly and ICE transferred many to AZ to relieve crowding in TX.
Smuggling of drugs - there are very clever people finding ways to get drugs in - tunnels, catapults, ultralight planes, hidden in commercial loads, cloned vehicles to look like legitimate law enforcement ones, on the backs of human "mules", etc.
 
In April of 2013, Director Orrantia was appointed by Gov. Jan Brewer as Co-Chair of the Governor's Task Force on Human Trafficking.  Other members Gil mentioned were Cindy McCain and Bill Montgomery, but it is a larger group with lots of capable people on it.  The task force held hearings and made recommendations which culminated in a new law passed by the legislature in April 2014 written to combat human trafficking.
We then viewed a video on human sex trafficking and people working to free women trapped in prostitution.