Manatee law enforcement on high terrorism alert during holiday weekend
MANATEE -- The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are warning of increased concerns for possible terrorist attacks on the July Fourth weekend. Law enforcement is being extra vigilant and asking residents to increase their awareness.
On Sunday, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, urged Americans to be extra vigilant during the Independence Day holiday. His warning came in the aftermath of terrorist attacks last week in France, Tunisia and Kuwait.
Law enforcement personnel have been issued intelligence bulletins warning extra vigilance is needed over the holiday weekend.
"People need to be alert of their surroundings as they have been since Sept. 11. It changed everything," said Manatee County Sheriff's office spokesman Dave Bristow. "People just need to be a little bit more aware because of what's coming out of Washington."
The sheriff's office will act accordingly this weekend, he added.
"Everyone will be on alert here," Bristow said. "We will check the usual rotations that we do when there is this kind of alert."
A statement issued Friday by Homeland Security said terrorist attacks last week serve as a reminder of evolving global terrorist threats.
"Particularly with the upcoming July Fourth holiday, here in the United States the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI continue to communicate with state and local law enforcement about what we know and see," the statement said. "We are encouraging all law enforcement to be vigilant and prepared. We will also adjust security measures, seen and unseen, as necessary to protect the American people."
The agency, however, urged Americans to still attend public events.
"I wouldn't change your plans because that's what they want," He said. "Enjoy yourselves, but just be alert."
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.