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Ten Years after 9-11, How Safe Do You Feel in Public Spaces?

Kevin Killeen
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St. Louis Police Bomb Detection Unit outside the America's Center at Police Expo

St. Louis Police Bomb Detection Unit outside the America’s Center at Police Expo

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – A decade after 9-11, and millions of dollars later in federal grant money, the St. Louis region remains “prepared” for a possible terrorist attack — but not all possible targets are equally protected. 

“It’s impossible to prepare for every single contingency,” said Mayor Francis Slay, “You know, you have to weigh the risk of harm, the risk of something happening with the methods we employ to avoid those risks.”

Since 9-11,  Lambert Airport has undergone security upgrades,  the Arch is protected from truck bombs by steel posts, federal buildings and city hall have metal detectors and Busch Stadium has required security checkpoints for some special events. St. Louis Police have also purchased new equipment since the attacks.

“If you look at the bomb truck there, we didn’t have that before 9-11,” said Police Chief Dan Isom, “I believe the bear, which is our swat tactical vehicle, is something we didn’t purchase until after 9-11.”

img 2499 Ten Years after 9 11,  How Safe Do You Feel in Public Spaces?

St. Louis Police display weapons at Police Expo

Isom says the bomb truck can be used for suspicious packages, but he admits such incidents are rare in St. Louis, and usually turn out to be nothing sinister. 

The Mayor and Police Chief spoke outside a larger gathering of police and politicians at the America’s Center downtown.   The crowd flowed freely into the gathering, with no metal detectors or security checkpoints.  Ten years after 9-11 there is a similar ease of access to most modes of public transportation,  grocery stores, theaters, sporting events, office buildings and public spaces.  

“The question is how much money do we spend and how much resources do we employ in order to avoid certain levels of risk,” Slay said.

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