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Orange alert sparks few changes

Ben Godar

The Department of Homeland Security this week raised the national

threat level in response to terrorist threats against Western

targets, but until specific information about local targets is known,

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Burbank Police and Fire officials are not making any significant

changes.

California Highway Patrol officers, however, are adding four more

hours to their workdays after Gov. Gray Davis put the state agency on

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12-hour shifts in response to the heightened terror alert.

The color-coded terror alert was raised Tuesday from yellow to

orange, which indicated a high risk of terror attacks and is the

second-highest of five levels. Information released by the Homeland

Security officials said only that intelligence suggested Al Qaeda

entered an operational period that may include attacks against the

United States.

When the threat level was last raised to orange prior to the start

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of the Iraq conflict, Burbank Police raised deployments and officers

were not allowed to schedule time off. Those steps have not been

taken this time, but spokesman Sgt. Bruce Speirs said police are

confident staffing levels are high enough to respond to an attack.

“If a threat becomes more identified and it looks like something

we need to be responsive to, we’ll take the necessary steps,” he

said.

Officers are being reminded of the heightened alert, and asked to

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pay particular attention to locations that could be targets, but

Speirs said no other changes in procedure have been made at this

time.

Mike Post, security chief at the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena

Airport, said that while some changes have been made in terms of

where officers focus their activities, deployments have not

increased. Airport personnel will continue to inspect vehicles, which

some airports only do when the terror level rises, he said.

Rick Mehling, interim disaster preparedness coordinator, said no

significant changes were made by the Burbank Fire Department in

reaction to the latest change in the alert level.

“The alerts go up and down and we make changes here and there, but

really nothing’s changed,” he said.


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