Originally published in Westchester Magazine
July 2, 2015
Following recent terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia, and Kuwait, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson released a statement last week urging all law enforcement officials to be vigilant and prepared as the holiday weekend approaches.
“We continue to encourage all Americans to attend public events and celebrate this country during this summer season, but always remain vigilant. ‘If you see something, say something’ is more than a slogan,” Johnson said.
Though there are no known specific or credible threats to Westchester County, White Plains Department of Public Safety Commissioner David Chong said that the police force and all public safety assets have been significantly increased for the weekend and for the City of White Plains’ annual Independence Day celebration on Thursday night.
“We have a national threat alert, which has put all law enforcement on the alert to be cognizant of a lone wolf or terrorism event by ISIS,” Chong said. “I want to make it very clear, we do not have any specific threats in White Plains.”
Throughout the holiday weekend, security will be increased all over the city, including the number of uniform and plainclothes officers and mobile camera surveillance, Chong said.
“We are working very closely and cooperating with our partners in the Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which includes the FBI, the New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police,” he said.
Chong also echoed Secretary Johnson’s statement saying that the biggest and most important thing for law enforcement is that the public is its eyes and ears, and if anyone sees anything suspicious, they should not hesitate to say something.
“As the public safety commissioner, I tell you to go out and enjoy yourself and do everything that you would normally do on a beautiful July Fourth holiday weekend,” Chong said. “And know that public safety will be out there full force, ensuring that you have a safe holiday weekend.”