NJ authorities on alert as Nashville bombing probe continues
As law enforcement officials continue to investigate a possible motive for the Nashville bombing on Christmas, authorities in New Jersey are ramping up security efforts to stop possible copycat attacks here.
Drew Campi, deputy director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said with the New Year holiday fast approaching, this kind of assault is a concern.
He said some groups or individuals may be motivated by an attack in another state but “I don’t want to unnecessarily panic people. "We have no credible threat at this time directed against New Jersey.”
Campi said that individuals who may have become radicalized or simply decide to take some kind of a destructive action on their own, for whatever reason, pose a difficult challenge.
“The lone wolf is our most concerning threat and that’s because they’re very difficult for us to identify and pursue," he said.
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The biggest help in stopping attacks is for the public to report anything suspicious.
Homeland Security officials also stay in contact with community and religious leaders on a regular basis to help determine if anyone has information about a possible threat or suspicious situation.
Campi said in cases where something suspicious is reported, the Joint Terrorism Task Force will review the case and “the FBI will have first right of refusal on investigative measures. If they determine it warrants their further investigation, they’ll take it and run with it.”
If the FBI does not become involved, the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness will coordinate with local and state authorities to determine the best course of action.
Investigators might look to see if a suspicious person has a criminal record or other similar reports in the past.
“Ultimately, we want to get in front of this person to determine are they a threat or not — and if not, great,” he said.
Campi said authorities want to be careful “not to unnecessarily investigate people that are not violating the law but we do have to take every tip seriously until we can resolve it out.”
To report anything you can contact the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness at www.njohsp.gov or by calling 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com