- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Security will be tight during Independence Day festivities tomorrow in the District, following attempted terrorist attacks in Britain last week.

Special police units will guard some Metro stations and conduct searches at controlled access points to the Mall, officials said yesterday.

“We always update our security presence on the Fourth of July holiday,”said Steven Taubenkibel, a spokesman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. “But given what happened last week over in Britain we wanted to beef up ahead of time to increase the patrols.”

Mr. Taubenkibel said the stations will be monitored by special security teams from the Transportation Security Administration and that Metro Transit Police also will be out in full force. There have been no specific threats against Metro, he said.

The Smithsonian Metro station will be closed because it is within the secure perimeter set up by the U.S. Park Police, which is responsible for security on the Mall.

The agency will fence off the entire area and search some visitors as they enter through 19 security gates, said U.S. Park Police Chief Dwight E. Pettiford.

Those bringing coolers or bags into the Mall area for the fireworks display can expect to be searched. And alcohol, glass bottles, fireworks and grills are not allowed, he said.

The agency’s security plan is similar to those used since July 4, 2002, with a few added measures, Chief Pettiford said. He would not discuss the extra components but said the public is not likely to notice them.

However, visitors will notice a full force of officers patrolling on foot, horseback and bicycles, Chief Pettiford said, though he would not say how many officers would be on duty.

The attempted car bombings in London and a fiery attack on Glasgow Airport in Scotland did not prompt him to update the agency’s security plan, he said.

“We’ve haven’t changed plans because we haven’t had any information that leads to a credible threat for this event,” Chief Pettiford said.

The Metropolitan Police Department also will also step up patrols during holiday celebrations, said spokeswoman Traci Hughes.

In addition to the extra officers on the streets, the department will use less-obvious methods she would not discuss.

The department also will activate its 72 security cameras, “keeping an eye on key sites in the District,” she said.

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