FBI warns police of potential ISIS threat, area law enforcement - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FBI warns police of potential ISIS threat, area law enforcement being extra vigilant

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Police and reporters are potential targets of the terrorists group ISIS, according to a recent FBI bulletin sent to all U.S. law enforcement leaders, including eastern Iowa.

"I think it's always a concern to us," said Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner. "It's a new world, and we're getting different players into this terrorism."

It's a concern that law enforcement officers in eastern Iowa are taking seriously and so are residents.

"We have to protect us, if they're attacking our protectors," said Cedar Rapids resident Toni Hamos. "It's a worry it's a concern. We don't know what's going on in this world today, it's a totally different world than it was 10-20 years ago and it's scary."

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security recently sent a bulletin to all law enforcement officials warning them to be extra vigilant.

They are cautioning that ISIS supporters may be plotting homegrown attacks, making police their next target with little warning.

"An attack oftentimes on an law enforcement official is really an attack on our society and our values," said Greg Buelow, spokesperson for Cedar Rapids Police Department. "Shows you the importance of that intelligent sharing, and also going back to that training that officers receive to continually remain vigilant, be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for a violent act like that where an officer may be a target."

Officers with the Cedar Rapids Police Department and Linn County deputies have been encouraged not to post their affiliation with law enforcement because ISIS members might use the internet to set up their next attack.

"We can't prohibit an employee from posting on social media that he or she is a deputy sheriff," said Gardner. "We do suggest that they don't. The possibility certainly exist and I think that it's important as a law enforcement officer that we are aware of the possibility."

Both Buelow and Gardner say this threat is a reminder for officers to be aware of their surroundings at all times even off duty, but they say it draws concern especially since someone intentionally may be looking to kill law enforcement.

"The law enforcement profession is a dangerous profession, officers are injured every year," said Buelow. "This is just another reminder with the FBI bulletin that's been shared. It just shows you another example of why law enforcement needs to be vigilant at all time."

The FBI's bulletin doesn't state that they're aware of any specific, credible threat by home-grown extremists, against the U.S., but warned to consider implementing additional precautions.

Sheriff Gardner says there are task forces in Linn County operated by the federal government that help local law enforcement share intelligence information to stay safe.
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