Security ramp up planned for Election Day

About a thousand law enforcement officers and first responders are in San Marcos at the advanced law enforcement rapid response training conference. They are there to learn more about containing active shooters.

Demonstrations of new sensor tracking technology, weaponry as well as tactical robotics are eye catching. But the main focus of the annual gathering is on teamwork.

"So we need everyone working together, pulling in the same direction so we can get lives saved,” said ALERRT Director of Training John Curnutt.

Just last year that was the challenge for conference keynote speaker, Fred Fletcher.

"When the smoke clears, that’s when the real hard work started that’s when your community needs you,” said Fletcher who is the police chief of Chattanooga.

In July of 2015, a Kuwaiti born religious extremists fire shots into a Chattanooga military recruiting office and a naval reserve center. Four people died - and three others were wounded in the attack.

"I think the one take away is that it can come to Anytown, USA,” said Fletcher.

With that warning, Chief Fletcher went on to say prevention doesn't start on a gun range.

"We've learned since this incident that relationships matter, and when you embrace your entire community they will work with you to make sure you don’t have future incidents,” said Chief Fletcher.

The threat of a Chattanooga style attack on Election Day prompted terror watch advisory last week. As a result, officials in New York City Monday announced they will have police officers at every polling location. 

In a statement sent to FOX 7, Austin police officers will have “a list of polling sites” and “while an officer will not be assigned to any specific location,” they will “actively patrol all polling locations.”

"The risk of an attack certainly won’t go away after the polls close which is why the head of the FBI, in this part of Central Texas told me being vigilant remains a full time job."

"You got to live your life, but we should live our lives which some knowledge and awareness of our situation and where we are,” said FBI SAC Chris Combs.

Foreign extremists, combs reminded, are not the only threat. For example; it’s believed the Texas Governor's Mansion was fire bombed in 2008 by a member of a local anarchist group. And the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City was the work of man linked to the militant patriot movement.

"There really isn't a profile of what a terrorist looks like, we've seen men, women, we've children, kids, we've seen older people. So it really doesn't make a difference, I think what the public has to be aware of and law enforcement and the fire service, is just for suspicious activity,” said Combs.

The department of justice is also ramping up for Election Day. That effort isn't focused on security but protecting the vote. Poll watchers are being deployed to several states including Texas. Justice teams reportedly will watch voting around Houston and Dallas.

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