FBI requests 'heightened alert' status

Law enforcement agencies expecting nothing unusual

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2001

The FBI issued a warning that law enforcement agencies should be on heightened alert against the possibility of further terrorist attacks against the U.S. in the next several days. Lieutenant Jeff Kohler of the Kenai Police Department said the department is concerned, but has no reason to suspect any specific activity related to terrorism in the area.

"We are probably being a little extra vigilant for any unusual circumstances," Kohler said, "Certainly any community with an airport will be on heightened awareness. But nothing specific is detailed to take place other than a little additional vigilance in those kinds of areas."

Sergeant Tod McGillivray of the Soldotna Police Department said Soldotna police are looking for anything out of the ordinary as well, but are not doing anything differently.

"As far as the way we conduct business -- we will deal with whatever comes our way," he said. "We're not doing anything specific as far as bringing extra people on or things like that."

The FBI warning was issued Thursday, the one-month anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. It stated that certain information, while not specific as to target, gave the government reason to believe that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United Stated and against U.S. interests overseas over the next several days. The FBI alerted all law enforcement agencies to be on the highest alert and asked all people to immediately notify the FBI and local law enforcement agencies of any unusual or suspicious activity.

An example of unusual or suspicious activity that would be reported to the FBI might be the theft of a large amount of explosives, Kohler said. However Kohler stressed that there have been no reports of anything like that happening.

Even with no specific cause for alarm in this area, the possibility of what could happen, no matter how remote, keeps police on their guard.

"Anything's possible, (the terrorists) have proven that," McGillivray said. "I think our guys are looking for anything out of the ordinary, but it's hard to fathom a worthy target in Soldotna for an international terrorist group. But there are things in less than a 30-mile radius that would be important."

Kohler agreed, saying that international terrorist activity on the Kenai Peninsula was not very probable. However there could be other problems that stem from the events of Sept. 11.

"People sit there and watch the news for 20 hours a day," Kohler said. "With the increased stress and all the publicity, I wouldn't be surprised if things come up where individual people are having problems with the stress and cause other kinds of problems."

For the time being, Kohler said, there are other things to worry about that pose a more imminent threat to the community.

"Right now if you're looking at risks to the community, it would be people going out and driving on the snow for the first time," Kohler said.



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