Austin police responds to terroristic threats targeting Fourth of July events

Fireworks
(Courtesy: Jos Stiglingh YouTube)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is bringing in more resources and training additional officers in light of concern over possible terrorist threats this Fourth of July weekend. In 48 hours, Auditorium Shores will be packed for the city’s Forth of July celebrations.

But will it be safe?

Local Intelligence Officials say they have heard from a lot people who are worried about the terrorist threats this weekend. Police in many parts of the country are boosting security measures after the FBI warned about potential attacks by Isis supporters.

Gina Small and her family are visiting from Canada. They spent Friday kayaking on Lady Bird Lake and Saturday they’ll be watching the fireworks at Auditorium Shores.

“This is the first time I think we’ve been here for the Fourth of July, even though we come here once a year it’s never been on the Fourth of July,” she added.

With concerns all over the country terrorist threats, Small’s happy to hear police are being proactive when it comes to safety over the holiday weekend.

“If there was a serious concern and law enforcement is concerned about people going out I’d want to know,” she said. “I would hope that would be broadcast on the news, radio and made public easily.”

The setup has already started at Auditorium Shores, where thousands are expected to gather for music and fireworks. Austin Police say they will have officers on hand to keep a close eye on things.

“We’re not really anticipating any problems,” said APD Cmdr. Joseph Chacon. “There’s been no information that we’ve received for anyone to indicate that but we are ready for it should it occur.”

The Austin Regional Intelligence Center connects all local enforcement agencies together to help detect and prevent terrorist activity. Officials say the group was formed in 2011. They work with 17 public agencies in Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties. That includes officers from the Austin Police Department, University of Texas Police Department and Austin ISD Police.

Officers say it was initially created to consolidate and analyze records across local agencies. Now they also provide intelligence to detect and prevent organized crime and terrorist activity.

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