Law chiefs encourage people to report suspicious packages

September 3, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 3, 2011

Local law enforcement leaders called on residents to report suspicious packages to police as the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches.

King County Sheriff Sue Rahr, Seattle Police Chief John Diaz and Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste acted after a recent article in USA Today said such calls overwhelm law enforcement agencies. The officials fear the information could discourage people from reporting suspicious packages to the authorities.

“We are not overwhelmed, and we still want those calls,” Diaz said in a statement. “Our mantra remains ‘If you see something, say something.’”

The local officials reminded residents to call 911 if they see a suspicious package — and not to touch the possible threat.

“We’d rather respond to a hundred false alarms than miss the one real threat,” Rahr said in a statement.

The officials said suspicious package calls can be disruptive, especially at airports or on state ferries. But local officers and bomb squads never know if a backpack or purse could pose a threat.

“I would rather explain why someone missed a ferry than explain why a loved one was injured or killed,” Batiste said.

Citizens can help law enforcement officials by reporting suspicious packages, the law enforcement chiefs said.

“You know best what is normal in your neighborhood, your workplace or at your local bus stop,” Batiste said. “If you see something unusual, make the call. Let us be the ones to figure out whether it’s a threat.”

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