Local police on full alert after FBI calls for tighter security

In response to the U.S. attack in Afghanistan on Sunday, the FBI requested all local authorities be at the highest level of vigilance.

All law enforcement agencies have been put on full alert, said an FBI representative. It is up to the individual cities to determine what those security measures are.

In Minnesota, the increased security included searching some vehicles.

Minneapolis police searched cargo trucks and other vehicles entering downtown Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Police officers also manned more than a dozen city entrances. The searches were part of ongoing increased security measures, officials said.

“In light of the Sept. 11 events and in light of the bombings yesterday, the city of Minneapolis is under a heightened sense of alert,” said Cyndi Montgomery, Minneapolis Police Department spokeswoman.

Minneapolis police regularly stop commercial vehicles for weight and hazardous waste compliance checks, said Inspector Rob Allen of the Minneapolis police downtown precinct.

“It’s a more formalized detail than we’ve done in the past,” he said.

The searches were not in response to the FBI recommendations, Allen said.

Meanwhile, the FBI has been checking into thousands of leads since the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI spokeswoman Coleen Rowley said. The bureau has been in a heightened state of security since bombing began Sunday.

At the FBI’s request, the Minnesota State Patrol stopped two Ryder moving trucks on Interstate 94 Sunday afternoon. The officers searched the vehicles and talked to the drivers before letting them go.

“You’ve heard a lot about law enforcement being on heightened awareness. This is a snapshot example of what that means,” said Kevin Smith, Department of Public Safety spokesman.

The FBI became aware of the suspicious vehicles and followed up on the leads.

“We are erring on the side of caution,” Rowley said.

Other states are checking vehicles at weigh stations, Smith said.

“We’re currently not doing that because of the strike,” Smith said. “The workers who normally do that aren’t around.”

Other police departments in the Twin Cities were not changing procedures in light of the FBI release.

St. Paul patrols were not stopping commercial vehicles Monday, a representative said.

The FBI request did not trigger new security measures in the University Police Department, said University police Capt. Steve Johnson. UMPD has been constantly re-evaluating its security measures since the terrorist attacks.

– Amy Hackbarth and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Joanna Dornfeld welcomes comments at [email protected]