By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) –  Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced Thursday that he’s been selected to chair the intelligence commanders committee for the Major County Sheriffs of America organization.

The committee, according to Barnes, works with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on a variety of threats the nation faces.

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With the recent spate of ransomware attacks on corporations that have crippled the fuel and meat packing industries, Barnes said he hopes to focus on cyber security. He told a southland news organization that he’s “fortunate enough to be the only sheriff in Southern California with a fusion center, a collaborative homeland security effort of local law enforcement agencies that focuses on terrorist activity, but said there are pressing concerns as well.

“It’s not just about cyber attacks,” Barnes said. “That’s one of the rising risks. This is also about homeland security issues, domestic
violence, extremists, drug trafficking trends. It’s an all-encompassing threat horizon on a national platform.”

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According to the OC Sheriff, fusion centers work to ensure gathered intelligence is shared on a national platform so that law enforcement agencies are aware of threats and their significance.

Another area of focus for his committee is the dark web. Barnes said it’s become increasingly difficult for police to stay on top of as criminals develop more sophisticated means of encrypting information, such as drug transactions and the distribution of child pornography.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)