Impact of national terrorism alert on local law enforcement

Tuesday, February 12th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

You might wonder what it means to local police officers when a terrorism alert is issued.

News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains that this type of alert, with no specific date or location, is what cops call a BOLO report, or a Be On the LookOut report. That means it doesn't really impact their day-to-day strategy.

What you won't see in Tulsa is a state of panic, what you can't see is an increased sense of caution among the people who protect us.

Since September 11th, all the law enforcement officers in Green Country have already been on a heightened state of alert, so this latest FBI warning, doesn't change much. Tulsa Police Sgt Wayne Allen, "its pretty much business as usual. We'll keep a look out for these suspects and if we see them, we'll detain them and investigate them and certainly call in the FBI if they're stopped."

In the past, these types of alerts would only go to law enforcement agencies and the public would never even know they were issued, but, since civilians were the targets in September, civilians are now in the loop whenever new intelligence is developed. Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Mike Harell, “I think since September 11th, we'll never be able to go back to a time when we don't worry about things and keep a mindset of being cautious and constant alert."

Some law enforcement officers will carry pictures of the latest suspects, especially given the fact it’s been proven two of the suspects connected to the attack had been in Oklahoma. Sgt Wayne Allen: "The FBI is now sharing information and I think that's a good thing. But, I don't think we should panic. I don't think we're going to be the target for any large threat or disaster or any sort."

The Tulsa FBI office told us there was nothing in this alert that's specific to Tulsa or Oklahoma.

So, your next question might be, what does this type of alert mean to the everyday citizen? Basically, it just means pay attention. Call in things you think seem odd or out of place. The information isn't meant to scare, but simply let us know what's going on in the world.