Thursday, September 13, 2001
Parks Says Americans Should Embrace Having Fewer Personal Freedoms
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks said Americans should accept having fewer individual freedoms in return for a safer society in the aftermath of Tuesday’s devastating terrorist attacks on New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
“Some moderate level of security has to take place,” Parks said on KFWB radio’s “Ask the Chief” monthly program. “We should embrace that. We don’t want to wake up at 5:30 in the morning again and see planes flying through buildings.”
Parks said the terrorist attacks are a sign that life in America is going to be different.
“I will think we will all be less free than we were yesterday,” Parks said.
The things which define the United States also make it vulnerable to such terrorist attacks, Parks said.
“The greatest thing about the United States is democracy and freedom,” Parks said. “The worst thing about the United States is freedom.”
He said he was referring to the freedom of movement and activities enjoyed by people in the United States.
Parks said, given the wide array of people in Los Angeles, LAPD’s anti-terrorist division is absolutely necessary in tracking the activities of terrorists.
“People who travel into our country do not have signs on them that say ‘terrorist,’” Parks said. “It is important we work together and share information.”
Parks said he expected the LAPD to continue to be on tactical alert for the next several days.
Some officers are being held over after their eight-hour shifts are over to ensure the department has sufficient personnel to provide both day-to-day issues and added precautionary measures, but Parks added that most officers are still keeping to normal eight-hour shifts.
“We still have to deal with day-to-day services,” Parks said. “There are still crimes being committed.”
Parks urged airport security be beefed up and extra precautionary measures be considered in order to protect flight crews and passengers.
He also said increased screening of passengers—and of people entering the country at all borders—would also improve security.
Parks took the opportunity to acknowledge the diversity of the city of Los Angeles and said this is not a time for individuals to act out against those who are different from themselves.
“It is absolutely essential for the city to pull together,” Parks said.
Mayor James Hahn called in to the morning show from Washington, D.C. to congratulate the different city forces on working together to take the necessary precautions to protect Los Angeles.
“I am very impressed,” Hahn told Parks. “Everyone responded [on] an outstanding level yesterday.”
He said he was making arrangements to return to Los Angeles yesterday afternoon.
“We are going to get on with our lives,” he said. “It is important that we go about our lives.”
“The best thing you can do is get dressed and go to work because you know something is going to be different.”
Later, city Human relations Commission Executive Director Joe Hicks said his panel slated a special session Friday to take up the issue of potential backlash against innocent Arab American and Muslim residents.
He noted that there were reports of several incidents directed at Arab-owned businesses in New York and in Texas, but “nothing substantiated” in Los Angeles other than e-mail and telephone threats to the Islamic Center on Vermont Avenue.
“I would hope and wish that we were better than other parts of the country because we are so diverse,” Hicks said. “I would hope that there is a bit more sophistication here” about not directing anger toward targets who bear no responsibility for the East Coast terrorist attacks.
But he added that many people here come from other parts of the country, so in the end Los Angeles may be just the same as the rest of the nation in ethnic relations.
“The proof will come in the coming months,” he said.”
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company