Department of Homeland Security: ‘heightened threat environment’ and violent months ahead

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The Department of Homeland Security is issuing a terror threat bulletin, warning of a "heightened threat environment," and violent months ahead.

They are concerned about copycat attacks in the wake of the mass shootings in Buffalo and Texas.

Today Rochester-area members of the New York State Legislature came together to discuss the recent passage of legislation on gun safety.
Democratic State Assemblyman Demond Meeks said in response to the department of homeland security bulletin that this is something they have been preparing for.

“Last year, 81 people were murdered in the city of Rochester, marking a more than 60% increase in homicides compared to the year prior,” Meeks (D, NY-137) said.

Members of the Greater Rochester State Delegation said the signing of 10 new public-safety-related bills will provide a major gun control initiative following a wave of deadly mass shootings across the state.

“We need to protect folks here in New York State,” Senator Samra Brouk (D, 55) said. “We cannot tolerate another racist mass shooting. We needed to look at what happened in that incident and make sure that we did everything possible to prevent it.”

Meeks introduced and passed legislation that will establish a task force on social media and violent extremism.
“This bill will help us to understand how online platforms have facilitated and promoted hate and domestic terrorism,” Meeks said.

Today, The Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin over for the next several months as they monitor both risks of domestic terrorism and warns of copycat attacks.

“I think as a state we are known for being proactive when issues come up, whether it’s national or locally. So with that being said, I think we have to be intentional in protecting New Yorkers and leading the way in doing so,” Meeks said.

Irondequoit Police Chief Alan Laird is President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police. In a statement he said:

“As police officers, we are in a constant state of awareness for threats in our communities. We work diligently to build relationships with our residents and businesses, so they feel comfortable to notify us if they see something suspicious. In addition to that we hope that if our residents or businesses hear of potential threats or threatening behavior that they will notify us as well. All our local law enforcement agencies work with our federal partners to provide the highest and most professional level of law enforcement possible to our communities. It is no doubt that we are living in a very dynamic time, with increased violence across the area and nationally. These bulletins are a constant reminder of the potential for anything to happen at any time. We must be prepared for that and do so through our community networks to gather information, information sharing with our partner agencies, and utilize our professional training to protect and serve our community.”

Meeks also introduced legislation to have individuals in New York State participate in a 5-hour gun safety course before being allowed to purchase a firearm or ammunition.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office released a statement:

“MCSO is aware of the Department of Homeland Security National Terrorism Advisory Bulletin. We continue to act in accordance with guidance from the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and other law enforcement partners at the federal, state and local levels.”

The Rochester Police Department said:

"We are continuing to work with DHS and our local, state, and federal partners to address any actionable intelligence related to the City of Rochester."