CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Sheriff's Office is pursuing federal gr ant money to supplement ongoing anti-terrorism efforts in the region.
According to Sheriff Al Cannon, the office is seeking more than $134,000 from the Homeland Security gr ant Program to purchase a nano x-ray kit to aid the bomb squad as well as protective equipment for the SWAT team. The sheriff said such counter-terrorism efforts have been ongoing since Sept. 11, 2001.
"We began in response to those attacks, looking at our area of responsibility and how that might fit in in respect to policing, in particular ,how it relates to the port and port security," Cannon said. "What the state has done is focus on sustaining regional initiatives having to do particularly with bomb teams, rapid response...and the sheriff's office has been one of the agencies around the state that has been chosen to be one of the super teams."
Cannon said the nature of threats continues to evolve in recent years.
"As we have seen the threat evolve to this quote 'lone wolf' or small group of individuals," Cannon said. "We've seen here recently an individual who had been in trouble before, has been charged."
In fact, 18-year-old Zakaryia Abdin, from Ladson, was charged with trying to join ISIS and pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
"Now more than any other time, the role of local law enforcement is crucial in looking for individuals, being sensitive to the threat and helping to safeguard the community," the sheriff said. "We've got nuclear capabilities, hazmat capabilities," Cannon said. "This is continuation of completing our ability to respond to different environments."
According to Cannon, the challenge for law enforcement involves juggling daily duties while simultaneously, staying vigilant to the possibility of threats.
"With all that police chiefs and sheriffs have going on, they have to have an attitude that says 'I recognize, we may in the course of doing business in fact may encounter somebody.' We need to be aware of the potential for individuals to have a desire to attack the homeland and be alert to those possibilities as we do our day to day work."
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