LBPD Chief Batts, LBFD Officials, Viewed Anti-Terrorist Measures On Recent Visit To Israel
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(July 8, 2005) -- LB Police Chief Anthony Batts told LB neighborhood activists in February that a visit that he and other LB officials gained insights into security and terrorism on a recent visit to Israel.
Addressing neighborhood activists from across the city at LBPD's February 17, 2005 monthly community Crime Prevention Meeting, Chief Batts discussed the trip, made in late January trip without city taxpayer funds, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.
Chief Batts said the trip involved roughly 17 people including an LBPD Deputy Chief, a Sergeant from LBPD's new Counter-Terrorism unit, the LBPD Commander who oversees the Port. Also part of the delegation was LB Fire Chief Dave Ellis, LBFD command staff and a number of LB area physicians including Dr. Seymour Alban.
"We were going there specifically to learn about security," Chief Batts said, adding that with a Port and an Airport to protect, "I wanted to go to people who know and have lived through this and have a level of expertise to see if we can learn from them..."
Chief Batts said that what he saw differed in many ways from contemporary American life:
"There are a lot of guns...You see a lot of young people walking around with automatic weapons over their shoulders [as a result of military service], then you have security guards...so they're walking with AK-47's strapped over their shoulders."
"Anytime you go into any restaurant there, you have to get wanded. You cannot go into any restaurant, any bar, any place where you have a large grouping of people without getting wanded. You have security guards at every front door."
"In their country, where they have terrorist activity, they get back on line [quickly] to show the terrorists, you can't do this to us and we won't stand for it...When you have explosions or suicide bombings, they get the damaged part of that city back on line within three hours...They do their investigation, take care of everything, triage people, get them to the hospital, within an hour and a half of the explosion. They have the place back open as much as they possibly can within three hours. Within 24 hours, they have everything repaired and back on line. And what they're trying to say is that we will not allow terrorists to make us stop doing what we're doing..."
"Any damage done by a suicide bomber, the government pays to replace the damage done to a building. Any death or injury that takes place because of a suicide bomber, the government picks up any cost factors."
"You go into a mall, you've got to be searched. Going into the mall is like going into the airport. They search your car. They search you going into the mall along the same lines."
Chief Batts added, "All that was a very unique experience for us. A lot of things that we learned. A lot of things that we took away with us. Some things that we'll never use here in America, I don't think that will ever, ever happen."
He said he was struck by the size: "I think of a nation, like nation of Israel, maybe like the state of California to Nevada, [but] you're actually talking about Long Beach to Lakewood. [audible audience surprise] You're talking about very small areas."
Chief Batts concluded, "We here in America are going to deal with terrorism for a long time...And I don't want to be the bearer of bad news or things along those lines, but I think it's just a matter of time before we have another incident in America, and I think it's going to happen, it's going to occur at some point in time..."
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