City still monitoring terrorism threat level

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

The carrier Harry S. Truman battle group is finished with its wartime obligations and is expected home in Norfolk by the end of May. However, America remains on alert despite the terrorist threat level having been reduced to &uot;Elevated.&uot;

In response, the City of Suffolk has also downgraded the perceived threat level.


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Capt. Jim Judkins, Suffolk’s emergency management coordinator, said the definition of &uot;elevated&uot; means there is still a risk of terrorist attack but a specific region of the USA or target has not been identified.

&uot;Suffolk’s Department of Fire and Rescue, the Police Department, and Emergency Management officials will continue to monitor national and worldwide events closely,&uot; the captain added. &uot;As outlined by the Virginia Homeland Security Office, citizens are encouraged to continue normal activities, but report suspicious activities to local law enforcement agencies.&uot;

Judkins also said it would be beneficial for every citizen to take a first aid or Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) class. This course teaches skills that could not only save a life in the participant’s home, but could also make a difference in an emergency situation in the community. Call him at 923-2110 to learn more about scheduling for the next CERT course.

Judkins also said people should become active in Neighborhood Crime Watch programs. Crime Watch neighbors often serve as the eyes and ears for law enforcement.

&uot;You can also network with your family, neighbors, and community for mutual support during a disaster or in the event of a terrorist attack,&uot; said Judkins. &uot;Learn what critical facilities are located in your community and report suspicious activities at or near these sites. You can contact local officials to learn more about specific hazards in the community.&uot;

People should also continue to increase individual or family emergency preparedness by maintaining good physical fitness and health, and storing food, water, and emergency supplies, he said. They should also continue to monitor media reports concerning the situation.

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner continues to maintain as one of his highest priorities; providing for the safety and security of the residents of the Commonwealth.

&uot;The horrific events of Sept. 11 demonstrated that Virginia is a target rich state for those who would seek to terrorize our people,&uot; he added. &uot;I urge all Virginians to assist law enforcement by maintaining a heightened sense of awareness, and to immediately report any suspicious activity.&uot;