Calif. Activates Emergency Threat Review System
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California safety officials on Monday called for heightened vigilance and the activation of a statewide threat assessment system in response to explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Officials in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Sacramento were reviewing information from federal authorities involving possible local threats, said Kelly Huston, assistant secretary of the California Emergency Management System.
“At this point we don’t see a connection to California, but it’s pretty early,” Huston said.
Officials were analyzing information coming in from officials in Boston and the federal department of Homeland Security.
The emergency management system was established after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
California officials were examining if there was “any shred of information coming out of Boston correlated to something we know about locally, trying to see if there’s any connections, and if there is a connection, who needs to know about it,” Huston said.
Those questions could lead to adding more police or stepping up security at large events.
No immediate connections were found between the Boston blasts and California, but Huston said, “the sooner we can find connections and then do something about it, the safer we are.”
The assessment also involved protecting critical systems in California.
Officials were coordinating with the five regional threat assessment centers in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Sacramento.
In Sacramento, California Highway Patrol Officer Sean Kennedy, who heads security at the state Capitol, declined to comment on whether security was being increased.
“Security measures are in place to thwart foreign or domestic acts of terrorism,” he said.
The San Francisco Police Department is on heightened alert.
“Officers on patrol are being asked to be extra vigilant around critical infrastructures around the city and areas where large crowds gather,” said Officer Albie Esparza, a department spokesperson.
The explosions are also causing the department to rethink security logistics for the upcoming San Francisco Marathon and Bay to Breakers foot races.
Airports in Los Angeles, Van Nuys and Ontario were in a heightened state of vigilance with increased patrols to show more police were on duty, said Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon.
“We have no indications that suggest there’s a nexus from Boston to the Los Angeles airport, but in an overabundance of caution, we have heightened our patrols at all of our airports,” Gannon said.
The Los Angeles Dodgers declined to comment on heightened security measures at the ballpark, with a spokesman saying only that security is a paramount priority. The Dodgers play the San Diego Padres at the stadium on Monday night.
Orange County Sandra Hutchens said deputies will have an increased presence at sporting and entertainment venues, and other large gathering places. The Angels are scheduled to play baseball in Anaheim on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and an Anaheim Ducks game is scheduled for Wednesday night.
In San Diego, law enforcement agencies were monitoring developments closely but haven’t taken any special measures, authorities said.
There were no major events scheduled in the city.
“Obviously everyone is aware of it,” said San Diego County sheriff’s Lt. Scott Amos.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.