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UA News
Tucson preps for 9/11

By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 11, 2002

UA, Tucson beef up police presence to handle any possible Sept. 11 emergencies

Security is being increased in Tucson and at the UA due to a heightened national threat level warning that came amidst planned remembrance ceremonies for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Tucson Police Department and University of Arizona Police Departments will put more officers on duty today than had been patrolling in past weeks.

The Bush administration announced for the first time yesterday that the country was placed on the alert level of orange the second highest level of security risk in the Homeland Security Council's spectrum of perceived risks to the United States.

The Bush administration stated yesterday that it suspects one or more individuals may attack the United States again.

Under orange, federal agencies direct their security efforts with military or law enforcement entities and take additional security precautions at public events.

Previously, the nation was at the yellow, or "elevated,'' status, where surveillance is increased only at key locations.

TPD elevated their Major Action Plan to level two, in response, with four being normal and one the highest. The plan, which was enacted partly because of the April 2001 Fourth Avenue Riots after the UA basketball team lost the national championship, is basically a response and operation process used during emergencies, said Sgt. Judy Altieri, TPD Spokeswoman.

The UA uses the federal government's alert system, said Brian Seastone, UAPD Commander.

Seastone and Altieri declined to comment on what measures UAPD and TPD were taking for Sept. 11, citing security concerns, but both departments will have more police on duty today.

"I won't talk about specifics, but you will see more visible signs of UAPD's presence," Seastone said.

TPD will have increased staffing as well, partly due to the increased alert level, but TPD was already planning on stepping up their presence, Altieri said.

"Because of the national security concern, we felt it was appropriate to increase our presence," Altieri said.

For some, the potential for average U.S. citizens to get out of control not terrorist attacks is a concern.

"I guess the issue of emotions boiling over is the biggest. The U of A should have people there to control the environment," said Abby Ridge, a psychology sophomore. "No, I don't care about the alerts, I think they have no validity and there is really nothing we can do."

The Davis-Monthan Air Force base and Raytheon Missile Systems are more likely targets than Tucson proper and an attack on the UA is highly unlikely, said Tom Volgy, Executive Director of the UA International Studies Association and former mayor of Tucson.

"My guess is Tucson is pretty low on the list," said Volgy, who is also a political science professor. "The terrorists go for symbolic targets, if they attack an educational institution it would be a high profile one, like on the east or west coast."

According to the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act of 1997 for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Tucson was ranked 34th out of 120 cities as a target, based on population, estimated growth and assessments of existing emergency management and training. Tucson ranked ahead of Charlotte, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.


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