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Police Plan Counter-Terrorism Show Of Force

60 officers from 20 agencies to take up high-profile posts at malls, train stations on Wednesday, encouraging the public to watch out for suspicious activity, packages.

While the holiday season means parties and gift shopping for most people, for law enforcement officials it’s a time when communities such as Rockland County are most vulnerable to the plots of would-be terrorists.

To increase public awareness of the potential dangers, an estimated 60 law enforcement personnel from 20 different agencies will be out in force on Wednesday in a counter-terrorism effort that will include a high-profile presence at shopping areas, train stations and on the New York State Thruway.

“During the holidays period people are not thinking about dangers like terrorism,” said South Nyack-Grand View Police Chief Robert VanCura, who is part of the counter-terrorism group that covers Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties.

VanCura said Wednesday’s show of force is designed to encourage members of the public to remain vigilant during the holiday season and to report any suspicious activity or packages they may come across. VanCura said police rely on tips from the public to defuse possible threats.

“We’d rather people call us if they think they see something suspicious, even if it turns out to be nothing, rather than not call us and it does turn out to be something dangerous,” said VanCura, urging members of the public to call 911 if they see something suspicious.

Law enforcement officers involved in the counter-terrorism effort will be distributing “See Something Say Something” flyers, encourage the public to report potential terrorist activity.

In addition to the police presence at malls and train stations, specially-trained officers will be conducting spot checks of commercial vehicles — especially those that make deliveries to malls.

Rockland County Sheriff James Kralik said the special effort is designed to fight complacency.

"You have to make sure the public remains aware and that complacency doesn't overtake us," said Kralik. "From my perspective, there is a legitimate threat until someone else says we are finally out of this."

Kralik contends that densely-populated suburban areas such as Rockland remain targets for terrorists based abroad and at home. He said facilities such as shopping centers, transportation centers and major highways remain high-value targets for terrorists.

Although the counter-terrorism event is a one-day effort, Clarkstown Police Chief Michael Sullivan said he believes the show of force in the community is a good way of reminding the public that they a critical part of the battle against crime and the war on terrorism.

"The obvious fact is we can't be everywhere," Sullivan said. "We're depending on the community supporting us and making a call when they see something suspicious. They can make a big difference."

Here’s where the police presence is planned:

Rockland County:       

Malls:              Palisades Center mall, West Nyack, 2 to 7 p.m.

Commercial Vehicle Checks: 

                        Route 59 and Exit 14S NYS Thruway 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trains

Spring Valley train station

Suffern train station

Pearl River train station

Nanuet train station

Sloatsburg train station

Orange County:

Malls:              Woodbury Commons     Noon to 6 p.m.

                        Galleria at Crystal Run   3 to 9 p.m.

Commercial Vehicle Checks:

                        I-84 Eastbound, Town of Wallkill 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

                        Route-32, V/Harriman   10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Trains:

Port Jervis station

Otisville train station

Wallkill train station

Campbell Hall train station

Salisbury Mills train station

Harriman train station

Tuxedo train station

Sullivan County:

Malls:             Route 42 Corridor Stores           10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Commercial Vehicle Checks:

            Route 42 Town of Thompson     10 a.m. to 4 p.m.     

In addition to calling 911, the public can report anything suspicious to the Terrorism Hot Line:

866-SAFENYS (24 Hours)

866 723-3697 (24 Hours)

Ken McQuade December 14, 2011 at 12:14 AM
I coached Bill Robinson in little league and now he's out there helping to protect the public. Hats off to all law enforcement who take this threat serious. Let no one complain of possible delays your safety is worth it.
fred December 14, 2011 at 12:34 AM
i agree but the cry babies will be out in full force after the library meeting so lets break out the tissue and violens
Concerned Citizen December 14, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Why tell the "would be terrorists" when they are doing Commercial Vehicle Checks? What should have been done is to tell the public that they will be doing Vehicle Checks, thats it. Not the date, time, and location. Its great that they are finely taking some Counter-Terrorism steps.

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