Stronger police presence in D.C. for 9/11 observance
The nation’s capital will increase police presence through the observance of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, mirroring heightened security across the country.
There are no specific terrorism threats against Washington or anywhere else in the country, but Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday there is “a lot of chatter” around the 9/11 anniversary. Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said every officer in her department would be working at some point over the next several days. The department has roughly 3,800 officers.
“You’ll see mass transit, you’ll see restaurants, hotels, sporting events — any place where there’s a crowd, we’re going to have an increased presence,” Chief Lanier said.
She later added: “We reassigned days off, restricted leave, all those things.”
In New York, the police department is deploying thousands of extra officers and will form a zone around the World Trade Center for a Sunday observance that President Obama and former President George W. Bush plan to attend.
There will also be hundreds of surveillance cameras monitoring the site. Police in cities including Houston and Phoenix will also be doing more patrols.
Amtrak says it will do more passenger and baggage screenings, deploy more K-9 explosive detection teams and have a stronger police presence at stations and on trains.
In Washington, people walking or traveling near the U.S. Capitol will see more uniformed and plainclothes officers, additional police cruisers and may notice a bomb squad or SWAT team in areas of Capitol Hill where they wouldn’t ordinarily be seen, said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman. The U.S. Park Police, which has jurisdiction over D.C. landmarks including the National Mall and the Washington Monument, is also on alert.
“We’re well aware that this anniversary does bring with it a lot of emotion and concerns, but we’re certainly addressing it,” said Park Police spokesman David Schlosser.
The terrorist attacks have particular resonance in Washington, as one of the hijacked planes departed from Washington Dulles International Airport and soon after crashed into the Pentagon.
Chief Lanier said the security in place this weekend has been necessary for at least the last 10 years. In the District, suspicious packages and vehicles are reported and searched constantly throughout the city — evidence of a heightened public awareness produced at least in part by the terrorist attacks.
“It’s not a good idea for everybody to relax after this anniversary is over. This is a way of life for us now,” Chief Lanier said.