Lessons from NYC attack ahead of local tourism surge
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - While the Birmingham metro doesn’t have a major transit system like the one disrupted during the mass shooting in Brooklyn, it will host a string of large sporting events through the spring and summer, from football, to racing and the World Games.
Former Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ted Sexton also ran the Los Angeles County Homeland Security Division. He says people should not be paranoid, but they must remain alert and be ready to act if they see something concerning in person or on social media.
“Folks sometimes get on a keyboard and say something they don’t mean to one time, and then regret what they said,” said Sexton. “However, if that behavior continues, that’s showing a pattern and that is showing a potential for violence, that is a concern and should be a concern to everyone. "
Sexton adds “It’s not gonna be the cop that finds that, that minute message, on Facebook or in YouTube, it’s gonna be a citizen that happens to see that and comes forward and reports.”
Sexton believes its important to remind people of their responsibility because he believes many have let their guard down, and large, televised sporting events could be attractive to those seeking to make a statement.
We still have folks in the world that wanna harm us. We have folks within the United States domestically that have proven that they will do things to harm others. So as we move towards the World Games, the biggest thing is to be alert,” said Sexton.
Sexton, who now runs the Phoenix House Drug Treatment Facility, says with crime rising across the country, it’s critical that police talk with their communities to find an acceptable balance that will lead to more effective community protection.
“There are a lot of people out there, that have misnomers misperceptions about what law enforcement officers actually do,” says Sexton. “There are a lot of people out there that have experienced extremely bad situations by an extremely small percentage of law enforcement officers. So the more the conversations come about, the more those communities can find balance with their law enforcement, whoever is out there serving on a daily basis is there to serve the public and is strong to seek the trust of the public. And that comes through discussions and finding that balance.”
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