Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Remaining vigilant in Kansas City

In light of the tragic terrorist attack in Boston, many have asked what we’re doing to ensure security in Kansas City. The answer to that question is, “a lot.” While we have taken additional measures since the Boston bombings, a good deal of what we do is an ongoing and constant vigilance at the local, state and federal level that has been in place for years. This vigilance has led to the disruption of terrorist training and funding going on right here in Kansas City and has been part of every major event we plan for in the community.

In regard to the Boston attack specifically, our Homeland Security Unit and the Kansas City Terrorism Early Warning Center – a regional team of analysts – are searching numerous sources for any indication of if, where and when something may happen, not just in Kansas City proper but across the metropolitan area. They are staying in constant contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, FBI and other governmental partners to obtain the latest information. We have received no credible threats for our area at this time.

We are constantly preparing for emergency response to natural or manmade incidents. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game was a prime example. About this time last year, we conducted a full-scale exercise with federal, state and local agencies that involved hundreds of players responding to a mock explosion with civilian casualties at Kauffman Stadium. That helped us further refine our emergency operations plan for the All-Star Game as well as our critical incident manual, which is updated regularly. We work with all city agencies at the Emergency Operations Center and exercise our capabilities on at least an annual basis. We have resources like a new fleet of helicopters, a mobile command post and a mobile communications trailer for incident management in Kansas City and throughout the region.

No one should be afraid to carry on with their normal activities. Run the race you planned to. Go to sporting events; enjoy concerts, shopping, dining and more. While it’s important that everyone carry on as normally as possible, we do ask that you remain aware of what’s going on around you. This is the case for regular crime as well as terrorist activities. If you see something suspicious, report it to law enforcement. The KC Terrorism Early Warning Center has some good guidelines on what could constitutes suspicious terrorist activity.

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