Local law enforcement heighten security

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Staff Writer

Less than 24 hours after the United States military strikes in Afghanistan, the president was addressing fears at home and for military personnel abroad.

President George W. Bush, on Monday, said the federal government is making defense of terrorism a top priority.

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Fear is widespread as nuclear power plants, missile manufacturing facilities and just about any federal building are designated as possible targets.

Because of that fear, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has asked law enforcement agencies across the United States to act at the highest alert status for "any act of terrorism or violence domestically."

In Pike County, local law enforcement agencies are doing just that.

Pike County Sheriff Russell Thomas has stepped his patrols in areas that could be targets of terrorist attacks.

"We’ve intensified our patrols, especially in the area of Orion and China Grove because of Lockheed Martin," Thomas said.

The sheriff quickly pointed out action being taken by his deputies is "not because we’re overly concerned, but because we’re just using good judgement."

Armed off-duty deputies are also working security for Lockheed Martin Pike County Operations.

"We are doing the same thing we would do in any alert situation," said Troy State University Police Chief Rod Anderson.

Anderson said he is making sure he has plenty of personnel to cover each shift and has informed officers to be extra cautious.

With a large population of international students on campus, Anderson is keeping in close contact with the International Department.

"We’re making sure we don’t send the wrong signals, but are making sure we cover all bases," Anderson said.

As officers with the Brundidge Police Department make stops along U.S. 231, they are paying closer attention to situations.

"We’re using extra caution in stopping vehicles," Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport said. "We’re just taking precautions and being a little extra cautious."

Davenport said the "sense of concern is more prevalent, now, than it was a couple of months ago."

Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said this is a time people need to be more understanding of law enforcement’s actions.

Everage said one of the first things he did when the terrorist attacks on America were made was contact the FBI. The FBI in turn sent him a list of names the TPD checked out through TSU.

"We’ve probably interviewed six individuals since this started," Everage said. "So far, we haven’t turned up any involvement."

The biggest change, Everage said, is his officers will likely see changes in training courses in the future.

"We’re keeping our officers as well briefed and well prepared as we can," Everage said.

In the meantime, Everage said citizens should also be more cautious and report any suspicious activity.

"If we get any calls, of something that doesn’t look right, we’re going to look into it," Everage said, adding it’s better to prove no involvement than figure out who was involved afterwards.