PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Following the recent air strikes overseas, it’s not uncommon to see a rise in threats following a major international incident. But the way law enforcement monitors the reaction has changed, possibly in ways you don’t even notice.
“There’s a huge threat potential anywhere. I think that is all lessons learned from 9/11,” says Eyewitness News Law Enforcement Analyst Steven O’Donnell.
The attack that changed the world, continues to impact how we respond to crisis today.
The Fusion Center of Rhode Island, founded in 2005, is a multi-agency resource found in every state in the country where all levels of law enforcement investigate potential terrorist activity and distribute that information to local, state, and federal agencies.
“They monitor open source. We talked about the internet. Facebook, Instagram, everything that’s out there,” O’Donnell added. “The most important thing is they share what they get, they share with other organizations and other organizations share that with them.”
O’Donnell spent his career getting the bad guys off the street. He says a lot of intel isn’t as secretive as you might think. Often it’s in plain sight.
“The internet is so vast anybody could be radicalized especially now with what has happened with Iran. You could have people who are frustrated or angry and on the tipping point to become radicalized and become actionable.”
As advanced as technology can be, O’Donnell says it’s often the basics that work best. The motto “If You See Something, Say Something.” has proven to be a game changer.
“It’s really critical that our people pay attention to, and this is our citizens, pick up the phone and call law enforcement, That is where a lot of things get solved.”
O’Donnell says the Fusion Center continues to work with community and religious organizations, a partnership that have proven helpful in their work of preventing potential threats.