Archive for Saturday, September 22, 2001

Kansas security remains vigilant

September 22, 2001


— Even though the state doesn't appear to be in the crosshairs of any terrorist attacks, officials say Kansans should remain vigilant and a little more aware of their surroundings.

Throughout the state, officials say security has been increased for locations such as oil and gas pipelines, airports and public buildings in the wake of last week's attacks in New York and Washington.

Since then, there has been speculation about additional attacks, perhaps on Saturday. But state and federal law enforcement officials emphasized Friday they had no information about any credible threats in Kansas.

"I'm not aware of anything directed at Kansas," said Col. Don Brownlee, Kansas Highway Patrol superintendent. "It doesn't lessen the drive to be prepared for anything that may come."

FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza in Kansas City, Mo., agreed, adding, "People should always be vigilant about their security and report any suspicious activity to authorities."

On Friday, Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft warned Acting Gov. Jane Swift of Massachusetts that terrorist strikes could be attempted in Boston in the coming days, though he stressed that no specific threats have been made.

Gov. Bill Graves hasn't received any similar warnings about Kansas.

"We have not received any additional warnings or alerts from federal authorities beyond those communicated last week in the wake of the disasters," said Graves spokesman Don Brown.

As the second weekend since the Sept. 11 attacks approached, much of the state was trying to resume some semblance of normalcy.

In Manhattan, Kansas State University planned its football game against New Mexico State. Kansas State officials said there will be extra security at the 46,000-seat stadium. Coolers are banned, and bags and purses will be searched.

At the Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, spokesman Jeff Ollenburger said the facility will maintain normal hours.

"We have a lot of people coming in and reflecting on what the country can do," he said.

Throughout the state, security that was increased immediately following the attacks remained in place for the foreseeable future.

At Boeing's Wichita plant, officials were aware only of media reports about the possibility of a second wave of violence, said spokesman Dick Ziegler.

"We have already stepped security up. We are comfortable at the state of preparedness the situation has called for," Ziegler said.

Koch Industries spokesman Jay Rosser said the company received no official warning to take extra security measures at its pipelines and refineries and wouldn't say security measures the company is taking.

Associated Press Writer Roxana Hegeman in Wichita contributed to this report.

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