Wednesday, September 11, 2002
City Boosts Readiness in Response to National Security Alert Upgrade
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles is fielding extra police officers, beefing up security at sensitive areas and declaring a high level of alert for peace officers during today’s one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Mayor James Hahn said yesterday.
“The number one priority of the City of Los Angeles police and fire departments is the safety of our city,” Hahn said, adding that thanks to post-Sept. 11 security increases, “Los Angeles is safer today than a year ago.”
Hahn, surrounded by police, fire and city government officials, told reporters the city is ready despite the fact that no threats have been reported for any city on the West Coast.
The federal government is on Code Orange, its second highest level of alert—meaning there is a high risk of terrorist attacks—although specific threats cited by officials focused on U.S. embassies and other installations in Asia.
Los Angeles Police Chief Martin Pomeroy said the department moved to Level IV alert from Level III in order to be consistent with the federal government’s alert status upgrade. He noted that being on Level IV also helps the police department track its officers more efficiently.
The Level IV alert started at 9:30 a.m. yesterday and is expected to last through today, Pomerpy said, barring any events that would justify maintaining it.
While under Level IV alert, the Police Department will field several hundred extra officers, set up temporary stations in locations around the city that are potential targets and activate its Department Operations Center, where it can quickly process intelligence reports. It will also have special units such as its SWAT team and mounted police units ready.
Pomeroy said citizens shouldn’t let the high level of alert worry them.
“I hope people are not alarmed by the fact that we have put a Roman numeral behind what we are doing,” he said. “Without panicking, our residents should go about their business, reporting anything unusual.”
Hahn said the airport police, port police and Coast Guard are all on full deployment. City departments whose buildings might be targets, such as the Department of Water and Power, have taken precautionary steps, he said.
Hahn added a call for Angelenos to respect one another’s differences and not commit hate crimes against anyone they might perceive as bearing blame for the terrorist attacks.
“Remember that we are in this together as Americans,” he said.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company