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Citing Potential Criminal And Terrorist Concerns, Officials Urge Vigilance At Olympic Trials

U.S. Dept of Homeland Security
U.S. Dept of Homeland Security

The USA Track & Field Olympic Trials kick off Friday (6/18) at Hayward Field in Eugene. And while the crowd’s attention will focus on the events, authorities hope some will help keep an eye out for trouble.  

A number of city, state, and federal agencies are promoting the “see something, say something” campaign. The concern is that large events like the trials could be tempting targets for terrorists and criminals.

Chass Jones is the Oregon Protective Security Advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. He shared things people can look for.

Credit Milo Bauman / Unsplash.com

“It could be a vehicle, an individual, unattended backpack, luggage, a window or door that’s normally closed and locked, could be propped open," said Jones.

"It could be individuals soliciting information, questioning personnel working at a facility or site.  A level beyond mere curiosity about a facility’s space or purpose.” 

And while law enforcement and security officials are urging vigilance during large events like the USATF Olympic Trials this month, they also emphasize activity over appearance.

Credit Karen Richards / KLCC
Hayward Field, April 2021.

"Factors such as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, that’s not suspicious," Jones told KLCC.  "The public should only report suspicious behavior in situations, or reports that are reasonably indicative of criminal activity or terrorism-related will be shared with federal partners.”

Jones said tips on suspicious activity have saved lives at other big events, including a 2010 SUV bombing attempt at Times Square, and a 2018 high school shooting plotted by a Washington student.  The boy’s grandmother reported his disturbing journal entries to police.

Reports can be made to law enforcement, or 911 if an emergency.  Moreinformationcan be found online at dhs.gov.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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