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Local agencies react to national terror threat

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Beyond every white chocolate mocha latte, coffee talk at VINT Coffee along 516 West Main turns to the post 9/11 mindset.

"I definitely feel safer," said Scarlett Davis. "I feel like our country is being more proactive to make sure stuff like this doesn't happen again."

The Louisville resident, who was just 15 when the 2001 terror attacks occurred, hasn't noticed tightened security in the Kentuckiana area.

And she shouldn't. U.S. Intelligence officials indicated Thursday the recent threats of possible terror activity were isolated to specific areas in New York City and Washington, D.C.

That doesn't mean local authorities aren't on alert.

"We are going to be extra vigilant," said Officer Norman Chaffins, Kentucky State Police.

From KSP to Louisville Homeland Security Unit, area agencies receive frequent briefing from federal authorities.

"If we get calls on suspicious vehicles or suspicious activity of some sort of threat then we treat it with a little higher priority because of the situation we're in right now," Lt. Michael Davis said. Davis is the LMPD commander of the Homeland Security Unit.

A local Homeland Security didn't even exist 10 years ago. About a year after the attacks, an LMPD liaison created.

"The dissemination of information coming out of D.C. has finally made it down to this level," he said. "We saw the need for it."

"We didn't have a lot of communication with other agencies, especially federal, but we do now," KSP Officer Norman Chaffins said.

That's all changed. And although security officials say Kentuckiana is not under a threat - agencies like the Parking Authority of River City are eyeing abandoned vehicles and even garbage bins

"We increase the manpower from four to eight hours for our street officers," said Tiffany Smith, Executive Director of the Parking Authority of River City.

Agencies from the newly formed federal level to even parking enforcement are taking precautions this weekend.

"They'll be looking in trash cans - any hidden areas," Smith said.

Thursday's terror threat specifically targeted the nation's capital and New York City. Intelligence officials indicated infrastructure like dams and bridges may be targeted.

Locally, KSP promises to tow any vehicle unattended along interstates, bridges or overpasses.

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