Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Terrorism Threats Puts Strain on Police Depts.

Inundated with calls regarding various powders in mail and other suspicious activities, law enforcement agencies around the country are taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of citizens.

Adding hours, doubling shifts and spending more money has created a strain on law enforcement across America.

With such a focus on terrorism, many are wondering if the regular duties of the police are being overlooked, and they may have reason for concern.

Philadelphia’s homicide rate went from an average of 25 to 37 during the month of September; some attribute the rise to a lack of attention paid to domestic crimes.

The Los Angeles police department alone received 375 bomb threats and reports of white powder between Sept. 11 and Oct. 10, 44 of those calls in a single day, making it all but impossible to carry on with business as usual.

Cities across the nation are faced with a critical decision: just how much emphasis should be placed on fighting terrorism within our borders, and at what cost?

The United States Conference of Mayors estimates that up to $1.5 billion could be needed to maintain current levels of security in major cities.

Police departments are facing serious budget issues about how to conserve costs while maximizing security.

One key issue is whether or not to continue community policing, such as police on foot, motorcycle and horseback. Such costly techniques have reduced the national crime rate by 30 percent since 1991.

Lobbying for state and federal aid is expected to increase dramatically during the next few months, with several meetings planned on effective spending.

Officials around the country are worried about how law enforcement will deal with the continued burden of heightened security.

Crime rates in Madison have been normal over the past month, although the initial weeks following the first anthrax scare brought in approximately 100-150 calls about suspicious packages.

Madison Police Department Public Information Officer Larry Kamholz said there is no danger of domestic crime being overlooked in Madison.

“Every case is based on priority–whether it be domestic or anthrax,” Kamholz said. “Each case is attended to according to the severity of the potential threat.”

Kamholz said local law enforcement officials have gone through training following the attacks and are well prepared for any potential threats.

“We've been on heightened alert ever since the attacks,” Kamholz said. “But the manpower hasn't changed.”

“Since Wisconsin has had no confirmed accounts of anthrax, the number of phone calls received has reduced significantly,” Madison Police Department Lieutenant Wayne Strong said. “Ever since the hygiene lab has ceased testing every package, it has helped ease the minds of the public.”

In the meantime, Strong encourages citizens and law enforcement officials alike to be aware of and report any suspicious activity.

In Madison, law enforcement officials will continue to be on a state of high alert for the weeks and months ahead.

“I don’t see [the end of heightened alert] being anytime soon,” Strong said. “Much like the war in Afghanistan, this will continue for a long time to come.”

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