As if Escondido police didn’t have enough to do with crime and all that, apparently they also are devoting time and energy to defending the Hidden Valley from ISIS.
Escondido police Sgt. Eric Distel this week had a lot to say to regional news sources about a special program he has been heading since last October to teach people about spotting suspicious terrorist behavior and sounding the Paul Revere alarm.
Distel didn’t disclose how much funding the program has and through what resources along with how many hours are being devoted to this.
What we know so far: Distel has sent specially trained terrorism liaison officers around Escondido warning people about suspicious activity spotting guidelines and how to report terrorists. The Escondido Police Department’s terrorism liaison officer program has 32 officers who have taken 8-hour training classes.
They handle four or five investigations per month of incidents that might have terrorism involved in some form. Distel said he “did the math on the threats we face and thought we should be more active.”
Aside from those so-called terrorism investigations, officers mainly pass out brochures covering terrorist activity signs.
“A lot of these terrorist plots are disrupted by common people,” Distel said to a news source. “Increasing public awareness is really important…We need (people) to buy in and understand what we are looking for.”
To that end, train security personnel are being instructed as to bag surveillance and dealing with abandoned, and suspicious, packages.
Apartment managers are being briefed on the dangers of groups of tenants with no furniture, pay in cash and secretive manners.
Hardware store clerks are being briefed on explosive uses of certain chemicals along with bomb-making material like caps and pipes.
Not that suspicious behavior is illegal, just that, you know, something suspicious might be happening, according to Distel.
“A lot of reports we get turn out to have no nexus to terrorism,” Distel said. “The vast majority are just regular crime, or the people are innocent.”