The new federal “orange” terror alert is adding to the budget pressures in Detroit-area law enforcement agencies, the Detroit Free Press says. From power plants to airports to border crossings, officers are patrolling hot spots despite budget cuts that have eaten away at staffs. In Dearborn, world headquarters for Ford Motor Co., the police chief increased the number of officers near public buildings and private businesses.
Dearborn, one of the nation’s first cities to establish a homeland security office after the Sept. 11, 2001, has had to cut the number of sworn officers from 201 to 192. “It’s difficult,” said Police Chief Timothy Strutz. “You have to deal with all of the potential terrorist threats, plus the preexisting criminal activity has not abated.”
Communication between local and federal law enforcement officials has improved. “We no longer rely on CNN,” quipped Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.
Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shanon Akans said that some patrols are being redirected, and patrol officers will watch critical infrastructure — such as schools, malls and bridges. “This is only an orange alert — not a red alert,” Akans said. “At a red alert, that’s when you put all your officers on duty for homeland security. Right now, we’re not there.”