Reproduced from The Record

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

by Michael J. Wildes, Mayor, City of Englewood

2-10 N. Van Brunt Street

Englewood , NJ 07631

201.871.6666

 

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Fighting Terrorism Mayors & Cities The Key First Responders

 

Anti-Terror Job Called 'Intense'

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

By YUNG KIM
STAFF WRITER

Federal, state and local officials assembled in Englewood on Tuesday to discuss national security initiatives and New Jersey's role in preventing terrorism.

The New Jersey Terrorism Conference, sponsored by the American Jewish Congress, gathered municipal leaders, emergency managers and fire and police officers at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

The session was mediated by Mayor Michael J. Wildes, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and Sidney Caspersen, director of the state Counter-Terrorism Office.

"On Sept. 12, we woke up as a nation," said Wildes, a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn who testified about anti-terror legislation before Congress in 1999.

New Jersey is in the cross hairs of the security discussion because of the state's proximity to Manhattan; its dense population; and the large number of soft targets, such as malls, within its borders, Wildes said.

Christie said federal agencies have reoriented their mission in order to address security issues.

Instead of solving crimes after the fact, the FBI and other agencies must now reallocate resources to determine trouble spots in national security before they are exploited, he said.

"When people do not hear about what we are doing, we are doing our job well," Christie said. "We want to prevent these things from getting far enough along to prevent prosecution."

While federal agencies are becoming more adept at taking on the new course of action and cooperating with state and local authorities to maintain a free-flowing network of information, the work is an "intense learning process," he said.

Caspersen added that the constant evolution of technology keeps authorities on their toes. Cyberterrorism is a major concern that must be kept up with, but officials can also use technological innovations to improve tools for surveillance, he said.

 

 

Paid for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes, Claudia Colbert, Treasurer