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Fiscal Control Board Could Fuel Incidents Of Political Terrorism, Top Police Official Says

By on June 22, 2016

SAN JUAN–The imposition of a fiscal control board over Puerto Rico is expected to fuel events of political or domestic terrorism in Puerto Rico, a situation that is keeping law enforcement on alert.

The Police Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Fusion Center of Puerto Rico, the law enforcement entity in charge of the gathering and sharing of threat-related information between federal and local agencies, are worried about the repercussions of Puerto Rico’s “delicate political state,” a top police officer said.

stock-photo-91539671-terrorist-pointing-to-camera-and-threateningFusion Center Director Francisco Mari said the incidents of domestic terrorism have already begun. Recently, a man, for reasons as yet unknown, fired shots at La Fortaleza before killing himself.

Last weekend, a pro-independence supporter threw Molotov cocktails at a factory in Salinas, injuring a police officer. Mari says that while the factory in Salinas was a fruit packer it did contain fertilizers that could have caught fire, significantly escalating the situation.

The United Forces for Rapid Action, or FURA,  recently received death threats through social media to the effect that officials were going to get shot.

“We have a political situation that is very delicate right now with this fiscal control board; we expect these incidents to escalate,” Mari said, noting the recent shootings at a gay night club in Orlando Florida that left 49 persons dead, including 23 Puerto Ricans.

Mari said currently he has 27 police officers in the federal Law Enforcement Training Center getting certified on how to deal with “active shooters” and ten others who have already being certified as instructors in order to start educating the private sector, the local police department and municipal police officers in dealing with such situations.

He said that if there would have been three or five individuals at the gay bar in Orlando trained on how to deal with situations of active shooters, there would have been fewer deaths.

“No one is really prepared but we get trained on how to deal with such scenes….The problem is not what we are going to do when we arrive at the scene, the problem is what the people who are in that shopping mall or in that school will do and that is the basis of our training…We are never going to be ready but we have to be trained,” he said.

The Fusion Center is also putting up posters in different locations telling people about the steps they should follow when confronted with active shooters. The first step is to run or get out of the facility. If that is not possible, then the person must hide and try to contact police. If that is impossible, the third step is to try to fight the attacker.

Mari said the office is also providing training and already has over 200 trainers in what is known as suspicious activity reporting. The Fusion Center has had conversations in this regard with officials from the banking sector, the ports, hospitals and the hotel industry, to train their security personnel.

Examples of SARs or suspicious activities may be a hotel guest who always stays in the same room when he visits a specific hotel but has numerous visitors to his room. In a hospital situation, a suspicious activity may be an injured person that refuses to provide personal information.

“We always have to always follow politics because it has consequences whether negative or positive over law enforcement,” Mari said.

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