Cities across the U.S. have stepped up security in the wake of Friday’s deadly terror attack in Paris, with New York deploying a specially trained task force of 500 officers and Cincinnati assigning extra officers and bomb sniffing dogs to Paul Brown Stadium for Monday night’s NFL game between the hometown Bengals and the Houston Texans.
There are no specific credible terror threats against U.S. cities, according to officials, but heightened vigilance is apparent from coast to coast.
“Having officers there in plain sight, visible with long weapons … can be a visual deterrent to somebody that might be looking to launch an attack,” said Don Borelli, a former FBI assistant special agent in charge who is now a senior vice president with the Soufan Group, a security firm.
The NYPD’s strike force was planned before the ISIS massacre in France, but Monday marked the first day the officers hit the streets. The 500-strong force is dedicated solely to responding to terror attacks.
Capitol Police increased patrols around federal buildings in Washington, D.C., while workers on Capitol Hill were reminded to report anything suspicious. In Cincinnati, preparations for Monday’s football game included special fencing.
In Miami, police used Twitter soon after the Paris attacks to reach out to the public, reassuring tourists enjoying the city’s active nightlife but also urging caution. Det. Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, noted that the region has a large airport, a major seaport and a huge cruise ship industry – potential “soft and hard targets.” He said the department has urged officers to be more vigilant, and asked the community to adopt a “see something, say something” attitude.
In Los Angeles, Chief Charlie Beck said the LAPD would operate on a higher footing for the foreseeable future, especially with the holiday season just ahead. He said the Paris attacks were a reminder that police must grapple with multiple threats from lone wolves to planned incidents.
“We have trained everybody to come together to immediately converge … to immediately respond to stop an incident as soon as humanly possible,” Beck said. Even so, he noted, “What happened in Paris could happen in one of our American cities … It is very hard to stop determined individuals who are willing to sacrifice their lives and have access to assault weapons from creating some form of chaos.”