A UNLV research institute that got off to a rough start but later became instrumental in helping Southern Nevada law enforcement agencies and resorts prepare for terrorist threats ironically is shutting down just days before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The Institute for Security Studies, which relied on government grants rather than state university funds, is closing its doors Sept. 8 because its revenue dried up. The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents plans in December to discuss the closing but that is considered a mere formality.
The institute announced on its website Aug. 16 that “in an unanticipated decision made by the UNLV hierarchy, we at the Institute for Security Studies have been authorized to declare victory, effective September 8th.”
But departing Executive Director Scott Smith wouldn’t discuss the details behind that decision.
“We are being organizationally dismantled,” Smith said in a Las Vegas Sun report. “It’s something I don’t care to talk about. We’re just a group of people who have tried to support the security of Southern Nevada. But our time has passed.”
The institute, founded in 2003, aimed to become a leading think tank on homeland security, the report says.
The institute boasted that it developed an eight-hour training course on terrorism preparedness for law enforcement offices, the report says. But many of its initial objectives, such as a study of the relationship between terrorism and the Internet, were never pursued, it says.
Under Smith’s guidance, the institute became more focused on helping to develop and manage counterterrorism programs for Metro Police, the Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center and the resort industry through Homeland Security Department grants.
Among the institute’s accomplishments was production of a 15-minute training video for resort employees called “7 Signs of Terrorism,” with more than 12,000 copies issued.