Local police agencies put more emphasis on preparing for random attacks

Bombing in NYC raises safety questions
Posted at 5:44 PM, Sep 20, 2016

The images from this week’s bombing in New York City and stabbing in St. Cloud, Minnesota are still fresh in the mind of the law enforcement community. In South Florida, police departments are working to keep you safe from similar random attacks. 

“Right now, I’m just concerned, alert,” said Rick DiDonato as he walked through downtown Delray Beach.

He admitted he's changed his habits as the number of attacks with terrorist connections on U.S. soil continues to grow. DiDonato is not alone.

“I do think about it a lot, I really do,” said Delray Beach Police Chief Jeff Goldman.

Last year, the police department assigned a sergeant to work as the emergency management director for the entire city. He’s in charge of plans to protect the public at special events, in natural disasters, and after terrorist attacks.

“You want to have a plan,” explained Goldman. “You want to be able to say 'here's what we do.' So I’m confident if, God forbid, something happened today, we're ready.”

This February, the police department added a K9 specialized for sniffing bombs.

Tuesday night, the police department will ask city commissioners to buy ballistic shields. They can stop bullets from rifles.

Delray Beach isn't the only city making moves.

Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz took to Facebook to call out attackers, labeling them “cowards,” and to assure the public his department is prepared to protect you.  

In Boca Raton, police now train with the fire department regularly. Plus, investigators put more weight on crime analysis to stay ahead of any threat.

“It’s a matter of gathering intelligence, sharing data, equipment and training of our officers,” explained Officer Sandra Boonenberg with the Boca Raton Police Services Department.

Departments across Florida agree the public is their best eyes and ears.

“When you see something, say something,” DiDonato repeated the message from police. “It didn't mean as much a year ago as it does today.”

DiDonato now takes the motto to heart and police leaders want you to do the same.