AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today announced the launch of a multi-agency homeland security exercise in the Austin area over the next few weeks to test and enhance coordinated response plans to scenarios involving terroristic threats or other critical incidents. Key agencies involved in the exercise include the Austin Police Department, Travis County Sheriff’s Office, the University of Texas Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
During the exercise, numerous law enforcement officials will be conducting exercise-related activities and may be seen mobilizing in and around the city of Austin.
“The public should not be alarmed if they observe unordinary law enforcement or first responder activity over the next few weeks in the Austin area,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw, who also serves as the Texas Homeland Security Director.
This homeland security exercise is an important proactive measure to ensure the various law enforcement agency participants are optimally prepared to protect the citizens of Texas from any type of homeland security threat or incident.
“Local, state and federal law enforcement entities work every day to combat crime and terrorism within Texas and beyond, and this proactive security exercise will further enhance our ability to protect our communities,” said Director McCraw. “We also want to remind Texas residents that the public plays a vital role in helping law enforcement protect our communities – and possibly save lives – by always remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious or criminal activities they might witness.”
Residents who see something unusual are urged to simply speak up. Preparations for terrorist attacks are often seen but rarely reported. When in doubt, report the suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency (by calling 9-1-1) or through iWATCH, which is a DPS website where citizen-sourced information is collected in an effort to help thwart illegal and terroristic endeavors. For more information on the iWATCH program or to submit a report, visit www.iwatchtx.org.
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