Assistant Police Chief says nothing 'is benign after 9/11' in reference to Boston Marathon bombings

TAMPA, Fla. - Assistant Tampa Police Chief John Bennett said the department is looking closely at how events are unfolding in Boston following two bomb blasts that left three dead and more than 130 injured. 

According to Bennett, Tampa residents should feel safe going to area events like baseball games and other events that draw crowds.  In other words, our events are protected and there are no known threats at this time to the Bay area.

Still, TPD learned to be extra cautious following the events of September 11, 2001. 

"Nothing is benign following 9/11," said Bennett.  "Everything that has a lot of people coming to, crowds gathering, you are going to have to take the precautions.

Bennett told ABC Action News, at events held in the Bay area, no matter if they are a ball game to a large scale event like the RNC, security is top priority.

He said authorities follow a three step approach including intelligence, design and surveillance.   Step one according to Bennett calls for agencies to share the same radio frequency to allow for fluid communication and response.  Next, authorities know the design or layout of the event and where to best station officers.  Finally, there is surveillance and in the downtown area that means video cameras are rolling to catch actions officers might not see.

With every event and every experience, officers learn and are looking for ways to better protect people.

"How can we do things better and stronger but still keep the freedoms in this country?" he rhetorically asked reporters.

TPD routinely uses bomb sniffing dogs and conducts bomb sweeps, according to Bennett.

He noted the department also relies on the public for help.

"If you see something communicate it," he reminded the public.

TPD did not say it has plans to up patrols in the area.  However, Tampa International Airport spokesperson Janet Zink said airport police will up their presence in the main terminal and outside the airport.

According to Zink, this is not being done because there is a threat.  It is only being done out of an abundance of caution.


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