RealNews

In orange terror alerts, wary cities hold back

When U.S. officials first used a color-coded system to issue a national terrorism alert last September, Phoenix police fell in line with virtually all city and state law enforcement agencies. ”We went full bore,” Police Chief Harold Hurtt says of Phoenix’s response to the Code Orange alert, which indicated there was a high risk of an attack. ”We put people on 12-hour shifts, canceled time off. We put people everywhere.” Officers guarded power plants and a gasoline supply depot, and security was increased at Bank One Ballpark, the retractable-roof baseball stadium where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. But by the time U.S. officials had relaxed the threat level two weeks later, Hurtt had concluded that absent a direct threat to Phoenix, his department couldn’t afford to jump every time officials in Washington, D.C., said to do so. Now, a growing number of city and state officials are following Hurtt’s lead. Plagued by tight budgets and fatigued officers — and still frustrated by a lack of specific information from the U.S. government about threats — officials nationwide are cutting back their responses to federal terrorism alerts. Full Story

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