OC Human Relations Saddened by Brussels Attacks

MyNewsLA.com, March 22, 2016

Orange County law enforcement officials said Tuesday they were monitoring events in Brussels, where terrorist attacks killed more than 30 people, but have not stepped up any patrols or made any deployment changes in light of the violence.

“After incidents like this we always remind our department personnel of the heightened sense of security,” said Lt. Mark Stichter of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

“From an operational and preparedness standpoint, every day, we have people in place who are trained to handle potential threats,” Stichter added. “We have explosive-detection K-9s regularly assigned to John Wayne Airport and Orange County Transit Authority locations. Their handlers are trained bomb technicians assigned to the Orange County Sheriff’s Hazardous Devices Squad.”

Sheriff’s deputies have “not been advised of any threats” to the area, Stichter said.

In Anaheim, home of Disneyland, police always “have a comprehensive and robust security plan in place for all of our venues and the safety and security of our residents and visitors is of extreme importance,” said Sgt. Daron Wyatt.

“We work cooperatively with our business partners to ensure a safe and secure environment,” Wyatt added. “There are no known threats to any venue in Anaheim. Of course we ask everyone to remain vigilant and if you ‘see something, say something.”‘

John Wayne Airport officials were also monitoring developments.

“Safety and security is always our top priority at John Wayne Airport,” Airport Director Barry Rondinella said. “Working together with our partners in law enforcement we will remain vigilant in protecting the safety of our passengers and visitors.”

In Huntington Beach, “it is business as usual,” according to Officer Jennifer Marlatt. “There is no increased police presence at any specific area of the city.”

Fullerton police Sgt. Kathryn said officers there were doing “nothing in particular, but we are monitoring events.”

Laguna Beach police were likewise not stepping up patrols.

“We are not doing anything in addition to our normal deployment, but we are closely monitoring the attack and are in communication with are intelligence sources,” said Sgt. Tim Kleiser.

“We are always vigilant about terrorist information but we do not have any information” of specific threats locally, said Garden Grove police Lt. Bob Bogue. “We have not been contacted by the mosque to step up patrols.”

Officers were briefed Tuesday about the attacks, Bogue said.

The Orange County Human Relations Commission condemned the attacks.

“Terrorist attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and now Brussels evoke our deep sadness for the many victims and their loved ones, as well as great concern about continued acts of terror at home and abroad,” according to a statement from panel.

The commission encouraged residents to not get carried away by fear.

“During times of great strife and terror, voices of rage, hate and scapegoating will rise,” the commission said. “It is our responsibility to be thoughtful and reasoned in our reactions, not to add to the list of innocent victims brutalized by hate and terror.”

The commission emphasized that the Islamic faith should not be singled out for criticism because of the attacks.

“Some will say that the Islamic faith is responsible, and call for action against all Muslims,” the commission said. “This is dangerous rhetoric that ignores the examples set by countless Muslims and Islamic institutions. We urge our community to bear these examples in mind as we struggle to make sense of the violence in our world, and to avoid provoking misdirected hate or sweeping measures that victimize innocent people.”

The commission added, “We call upon our community to resist the urge to paint an entire group with the brush of its most vile and violent members.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles chapter, which has an office in Anaheim, issued a statement saying the organization felt “solidarity with the people of Belgium and offer condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed and injured. Such heinous attacks are antithetical to the ideals of civilized society.”

CAIR officials also advised media to pay more attention to terrorist attacks outside of Europe and elsewhere, pointing to recent terrorism in Turkey that killed dozens, including two Americans.

Chalk messages of love and peace begin covering #Brussels in response to the attacks claimed by Islamic State militants

Chalk messages of love and peace begin covering #Brussels in response to the attacks claimed by Islamic State militants