In light of the continuing terrorist threats in our nation, the McAllen Police Department and several law enforcement agencies are working to prepare for attacks or threats along the border.
More than 250 representatives are expected to attend this two-day workshop.
This workshop is the first of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley. It’s a joint effort between local, state, and federal agencies to respond more efficiently in the event of a terrorist attack.
Victor Rodriguez – McAllen Police Chief, “Pre-9/11, we used to think that nothing was possible. Now that we know that it is possible, let’s think about how we would handle it. Because when we do some of the thinking before time, then that saves seconds and seconds saves lives. And that’s what we want to do, get some thinking done so that in a crisis situation we’re not wondering what to do.”
We weren’t able to bring our cameras during the exercises, but in this similar training by other states you can see law enforcement putting their lessons learned to work. While some assume that terrorist activity is only seen in larger cities, the FBI has confirmed threats right here in south Texas.
Christopher Combs – Special Agent in charge South Texas, “Every FBI division has cases on ISIL. So we do have some in our division. It’s a concern. We work very hard through joint terrorism task force with our state and local partners to address those terrorism cases.”
But federal agencies always depend on community input to identify a threat.
So it’s important for you to know the signs, like someone paying unusual attention to a building or large venue. Seeing a package left unattended at an odd location. They say listening to a gut feeling is always better than keeping quiet. But aside from law enforcement, the workshop focuses on medical care and the importance of acting quickly to save lives.
Todd Mann – McAllen Medical Center CEO, “This helps us better coordinate with the local officials in terms of this type of exercise. This is very new to us. And obviously we want to be in a constant state of readiness for the unfortunate instance that we do have a terrorist attack.”
One of the most important tips law enforcement officials are asking the community to remember, is to call your local police department if you see any suspicious activity in your area.
In six to eight weeks the National Counter-Terrorism Center will meet again with McAllen Law enforcement to address shortfalls and provide feedback.