Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXVIII, No. 572 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY February 28, 2002

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Street-smart chief; hand-picked to succeed; off to the parks; holding pattern over New Jersey; time to say goodbye.
Attention-grabber: Maryland police volunteer is touted as a national model.
Big Apple-bound: Already an out-of-town success, 311 may be headed for its New York debut.
Strength in numbers: MColorado agencies pool efforts for state’s first computer-crime lab.
No laughing matter: Montana officials foil revolution plot by hapless militia group.
A buck for their troubles: Videotaped cops win lawsuit, but little in damages.
Up to the task? Study says state & local tech capabilities need anti-terror upgrades.
An exercise in fatality: North Carolina deputy kills soldier during Special Forces training.
Forum: dose of post-9/11 reality for public awareness & the war on terrorism.
Federal File: Anti-terrorism & homeland security developments at the federal level.
Defending the homeland: Anti-terror plans take shape for states & localities.

Note to Readers:

The opinions expressed on the Forum page are those of the contributing writer or cartoonist, or of the original source newspaper, and do not represent an official position of Law Enforcement News.

Readers are invited to voice their opinions on topical issues, in the form of letters or full-length commentaries. Please send all materials to the editor.


Gundry, Poulin:
Public awareness & the war on terrorism

      Since the attacks of Sept. 11, a number of bulletins have been issued by the FBI warning of an increased potential for terrorist attacks. In many cases, these warnings are vague and nonspecific — the result of fragmented or unverified information filtering in from the intelligence community. Yet the public is warned to be on guard for “suspicious activity” and to maintain a “heightened state of alert.” Without specific guidance, these types of warnings have created a state of confusion and frustration on the part of the public and local authorities who, until recently, have never confronted the threat of terrorism.

      So what can the public do to aid in the war on terrorism? What should citizens and local police be looking for with regard to “suspicious activity?” Addressing these questions requires an understanding of how Al-Qaeda and other threat groups operate and how terrorist attacks are planned and executed. By assessing the terrorists’ modus operandi, we can identify many observable activities or events that may indicate a potential terrorist attack. In the anti-terrorism community, these types of observable activities are referred to as “threat indicators.” Any notice of these activities should be reported to police and promptly investigated...