Message from security, police forces: Stay vigilant

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A warning from the state said there may be people who exploit the war in Israel to either commit or encourage others to commit acts of violence.

One man organized meetings with our major police agencies Thursday, but first he sat down with News10NBC chief investigative reporter Berkeley Brean.

Berkeley Brean: Do you think people are nervous right now?

Mark Henderson: Yes, I do.

Mark Henderson is the former Brighton police chief and is now regional director for Secure Community Network, the security force for Jewish communities in North America. For years he has worked on security issues, including the bomb threats to local temples on Rosh Hashanah in September.

Mark Henderson: And then when we woke up Saturday morning, everything changed.

The state Homeland Security Department Wednesday night said there is “increasing concern” that people will “exploit the current situation” to “mobilize acts of violence.”

Sgt. Brendan Hurley, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office: Most importantly right now, there is no credible threat to our area.

Sgt. Brendan Hurley was in the meetings with Henderson today. Sheriff’s deputies are asked to monitor potential targets while on duty.

Sgt. Brendan Hurley: If they’re not answering a call, if they’re sitting and doing a report, we’re asking them to go sit somewhere in a place of interest.

Berkeley Brean: So we’re talking about temples, schools, churches.

Sgt. Brendan Hurley: Those kinds of places. Anything to do with infrastructure. Power grid, sewers, anything that could be a potential target.

It’s one thing to have security at places of worship and schools, Henderson noted. The attacks on Israel demonstrate the need for further vigilance.

Berkeley Brean: What we saw in Israel was attacks against people in public places.

Mark Henderson: Yes.

Berkeley Brean: So if someone is just walking down the street, how do they protect themselves?

Mark Henderson: Before the war in Israel and before the attack on civilians in Israel we talked about the need for situational awareness. When we cross the street and when we walk down the road we want to know what’s around us.

One of the suggestions from the Sheriff’s Office is: When you’re in public over the next few days — less time looking at your phone and more time looking around.