Harford security briefing

Harford County Executive David R. Craig received a Homeland Security briefing Tuesday morning following the bombings in Boston. The briefing was provided by Sheriff Jesse Bane and his staff. Also participating were Director of Administration Mary Chance; Director of Emergency Services Russell J. Strickland; Emergency Manager Rick Ayers; John Wagner, regional commander of the State Fire Marshal's Office; and William Potts, of the Fire Marshal's Bomb Squad. (Photo courtesy of Harford County, Homestead Publishing / April 16, 2013)

Harford County Executive David Craig says the Harford County's Department of Emergency Services, the Harford County Sheriff's Office and municipal, state and federal law enforcement partners are working cooperatively to ensure public safety following the bombings in Boston Monday.

On Tuesday, Craig urged citizens to report to law enforcement any suspicious circumstances they may be aware of and remain vigilant at all times.

"Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the people of Boston and Mayor Thomas Menino following the horrific and unconscionable bombings yesterday in that great city. We especially offer our prayers to the families of the victims that were killed and injured as a result of the two bombings," Craig said in a statement issued Tuesday morning in response to the explosions that occurred following the annual Boston Marathon.

"The people of Boston exemplify the principles of integrity, perseverance; honor and courage that helped make America the land of the free and home of the brave. As Americans who cherish our freedom and heritage, we stand by our brothers and sisters in Boston and ask God to bless them during this difficult time."


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No credible threats locally

Sheriff Jesse Bane said there are no credible threats directed at Harford County, but he strongly suggested county residents be at a heightened awareness.

"Our Intelligence Unit has been in contact with the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC), also known as Maryland's Law Enforcement Fusion Center, and they do not have any threats relative to the Boston bombing or any other intelligence to suggest Harford County is at risk," Bane said in a statement. "But that doesn't mean we should let our guard down. The incident in Boston should strongly serve to raise our awareness and sensitivity to suspicious circumstances but it doesn't mean we are under imminent threat."

Immediately after the bombings in Boston, the Sheriff's Office Criminal Intelligence and Homeland Security Units began coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, to which a Harford deputy is assigned and allows the sheriff's office to get intelligence in real time.

"While we are clearly concerned about the incident in Boston and need as much intelligence as we can get, the reality is we need to identify any threat to the county and so far there is none", Bane said.

Bane said he wants to make clear that while law enforcement agencies throughout the country work extremely hard to prevent these types of incidents the reality is it can happen - and happen anywhere. The key, he explained, to mitigating such an event in Harford County is building resiliency within the community by proactive planning, preparedness and developing lines of effective communication with State and Federal Law Enforcement, Intelligence Organizations, elected officials and the public.

"Police and fire departments train extensively, participate in tabletop and full scale exercises, develop and coordinate plans with Emergency Management, and share information with, not only, allied law enforcement but County Government and the public," he said.

The public needs to know that Harford County law enforcement is prepared and is asking everyone to be vigilant, the sheriff said.

"You will see increased police patrols at key critical infrastructure and increased police presence at public venues", he said, adding that security procedures may cause traffic and pedestrian delays. He suggested ways for the public to be involved include if you "See Something…Say Something." Report all suspicious activity to police, or call the statewide tip line at 1-800-492-TIPS. This phone line is staffed 24 hours a day by a live person. Be cognizant of your surroundings at all times and have an awareness of people who may be acting suspicious and do not hesitate to report their actions to law enforcement and/or security officials.