Local Police Maintaining Vigilance During "Operation Atlas," Says C.O.
By Charles Rogers
"What we’re doing now is maintaining the same vigilance we’ve had ever since 9/11," said Robert Johnsen, commanding officer of the 69th Precinct. "‘Operation Atlas’ has merely given an advanced name to it."
Captain Johnsen said that, since the start of the war in Iraq, the overall amount of personnel assigned to the local precinct has not changed.
"We have only been called upon infrequently — on an overtime basis — to send manpower to demonstrations," he said, "mainly because they have taken place on the weekend. Otherwise, our contingent of manpower here has remained the same."
There are certain "sensitive" locations that are given a priority, according to Johnsen, including some houses of worship and even civic locations.
"Of course, we’re prepared to do whatever we have to do if something special happens," he said. "We now have equipment that is state-of-the-art and we’re extremely confident we can react positively whenever necessary."
Johnsen said every officer in his command has a "second duty" in case of a war-related or terrorist-related incident.
"It’s a second duty insofar as our personnel are working in their normal capacity but they have taken extra training to handle special situations," he said. "Remember, there are still people out there who are breaking the civil laws and that is our primary duty at this time — taking care of crime in the community."