We learned this week that ISIS put out the word to those members and sympathizers who were embedded in other countries – particularly “western” countries – should carry out “lone wolf” attacks on non-Islamic people. The purpose of such attacks would be to show the world the extent of its reach and power. The authorities in Australia took these warnings seriously, and made some arrests of ISIS members who were plotting to carry out public beheadings on random citizens. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/18/australia-terror-raid-prompted-by-isis-plans-for-public-killing-pm-says/)
Fox News reported that there was a similar call to action for the United States. (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/17/law-enforcement-bulletin-warned-isis-urging-jihad-attacks-on-us-soil/) Then it occurred to me that in my time on the streets, one call to which I have never had to respond…a random beheading of a random citizen.
How would you handle such a call? Is there something in P&P that would help? Sure, it would be a homicide call, complete with crime scene, evidence, witnesses – but what else?
Two words. Secondary Attack.
Right after 9/11, police nationally were trained and cautioned to be aware of secondary attacks after a terror event. Think of this scenario – you respond to this beheading incident, with hundreds of people around and a dozen or more emergency responders, and an IED goes off, taking out all the responders and some of the bystanders, but injuring most. Are you and your agencies, and your partner agencies, ready for that to happen? How do you respond to that?
I’m not sure how it will turn out, but this is something that we need to consider. How would it play out in YOUR city?