Morris County, N.J. Officials Preparing For Possible Threats

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — State and local officials in the Tri-State Area have been preparing for possible threats or attacks, as tensions over a possible U.S. strike against Syria.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the Morris County, N.J. Office of Emergency Management has been keeping a watchful eye on the crisis in Syria. Director Jeff Paul said the tensions escalate at a time of the Jewish High Holidays, and the upcoming anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“There’s obviously a lot of events coming together at one time,” Paul said. “You know, we recognize the potential impact this has on Israel and obviously we have Rosh Hashanah just approaching us.”

Paul said there is no specific or credible threat that currently exists in New Jersey, but as first responders step up their vigilance, he said the public should do so as well.

“Don’t assume that someone else will make the call. Make it yourself,” he said. “If you suspect it, report it, if you see something, say something.”

Paul said authorities need the public as an extra set of eyes and ears.

Earlier this week, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also said there is currently no intelligence to indicate there could be a problem in New York City if the U.S. launches an attack on Syria. But the city remains prepared.

“Let me say that we’re always looking over the horizon. We are aware of conditions throughout the world, we have a large police force and we’re always looking at contingencies, things that may happen,” Kelly said this past Tuesday. “I can only tell you that we will respond, in our judgment, accordingly if something happens overseas. We’ve always been concerned about what happens throughout the world – it’s become much smaller after 9/11. That’s why we have our own officers stationed overseas, so they have their ear to the ground.”

As is always the case, there will be a heightened police presence at Jewish houses of worship over the high holidays and the heavily armed Hercules teams will be ready if needed, Kelly said.

In New Jersey residents were torn over whether the United States should intervene in Syria. Many said that U.S. should butt out, but one man told 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten that President Obama should hurry up and do something.

“Cause if he not gonna go in now, it’s gonna keep going, more and more and more,” Sayeed said.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 4. Yom Kippur begins on Friday, Sept. 13.

President Barack Obama said Saturday afternoon that he has decided the United States should take military action. But he will be seeking authorization from Congress for the move. A decision that drew the ire of Representative Peter King.

“President Obama is abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief and undermining the authority of future presidents. The president does not need Congress to authorize a strike on Syria,” King said in a statement. “If Assad’s use of chemical weapons against civilians deserves a military response, and I believe it does, and if the president is seeking congressional approval, then he should call Congress back into a special session at the earliest date. The president doesn’t need 535 Members of Congress to enforce his own redline.”

With Navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea ready to strike, Obama said he had decided the United States should take military action, but also determined “our country will be better off” if Congress renders its own opinion.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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