Bin Laden reaction: LAPD, sheriff urge L.A. to be vigilant about terror threat
Law enforcement officials gathered outside Los Angeles County's emergency operations center Monday to ask the public to watch out for and report any suspicious activity in the wake of Osama bin Laden's killing.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said law enforcement in the county is increasing its vigilance even though there's no intelligence indicating a heightened threat.
"For years this county has been well-prepared to deal with any emergency," Baca said. Cooperation between local law enforcement and their state and federal counterparts has picked up since 9/11, Baca said, and critical points, such as mass transit, ports, stadiums and airports have been further secured.
Still, Beck and Baca, flanked by other local police chiefs, said public participation would be critical in preventing attacks in the Los Angeles area.
"Be vigilant about things that don't fit," Beck said. "Don't worry about what the information is. ... We'll figure that out for you. ... What's important is to recognize no matter how good we are at community policing ... we don't know your neighborhood as well as you do."
Beck said oddities to look out for include any sort of chemical stockpiling, or even increased traffic.
Baca said it's still unclear if the L.A. area has seen an increase in tips since Bin Laden's killing, but he said he expects one after the "euphoric feeling" wears off.
Officials said there were no specific threats to LAX or the ports. Closed-circuit TVs installed on buses and trains will continue to be monitored around the clock.
Deputies from Baca's Muslim Community Affairs Unit, a full-time outreach group, also attended the news conference. Officials said it's not suspicious-looking people they want to hear about, but suspicious behavior.
Sgt. Mike Abdeen, who leads the unit, said in the brief conversations he has had with members of the Muslim community, the sense has been that Sunday's events could mark a new chapter.
"They're very happy for the news. Let's move on but it's not over. The threat isn't gone but the symbol is gone," he said.
Suspicious activity can be reported by calling (877) A-THREAT, or (877) 284-7328.
-- Robert Faturechi