Government and law enforcement officials have issued urgent warnings for people living in Florida, as well as those visiting the Sunshine State, as “enhanced threats” to public safety have been noted in the state.
Following a security briefing on Thursday, and in the interest of public safety, government officials and law enforcement leaders issued urgent warnings to people in Florida, urging them to be on alert.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody traveled to Palm Beach County, Florida, on Thursday for a security briefing at which state and local law enforcement leaders from the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were in attendance. Florida’s Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass was also in attendance.
“Enhanced Threats” in Florida
The briefing was held in response to what Moody described as “enhanced threats” to people in Florida following the recent terror attacks on October 7 in Israel at the hands of terrorist militants with Hamas, as well as recent incidences in Florida since the attacks in Israel, according to WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass, and FHP Executive Director Dave Kerner urge Floridians to report suspicious activity following heightened terrorist threats due to Hamas attacks. #FlSeeSay #855FlaSafehttps://t.co/7YkEIifGHu pic.twitter.com/jjiux8MeHt
— FDLE (@fdlepio) November 2, 2023
“We are united in saying that we need to talk to you about being on guard and being alert. This is serious,” said Attorney General Moody. “While we don’t want to raise an alarm unnecessarily, we do want Floridians to be diligent. If you see something suspicious, say something.”
Moody described a recent incident in which a man, posed as a construction worker, breached security at the State Capitol building in Tallahassee, gaining entrance inside. A foreman at the work site noticed the man and, sensing the individual didn’t belong at the capitol, he notified the Capitol building police immediately. The imposter was arrested for trespassing. At this time, it’s unclear what his intentions were in illegally entering the government building.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass shared details about a separate incident that took place earlier this week in which law enforcement agents with the Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested a man from Sarasota, Florida, after he allegedly made threats against a Jewish facility and a rabbi.
“Reporting suspicious activity saves lives,” Commissioner Glass said. “Take a moment to review the suspicious activity indicators, and if you see something, say something.”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Urges Floridians to Be On Guard Against Terrorism Threatshttps://t.co/H0V4is5RSX
— Charles B. Ledford (@CharlesBLedford) November 2, 2023
Things to Note and Report Immediately
Officials at the press conference pleaded with the public to be on alert and asked everyone to contact authorities immediately to report seeing any of the following items or scenarios–or similar items and occurrences:
- Unusual Situations. Examples shared include a vehicle parked in an odd location or in a location where parking is prohibited, a person seen acquiring large numbers of items such as timers, toxic materials, cell phones, etc.
- Unattended Items. Examples shared include backpacks, pieces of luggage, and other packages left unattended or in strange or suspicious locations.
- Damage. Examples shared include damage to security devices, such as security cameras, lighting, perimeter fencing, and other barriers, etc.
- Prolonged observation. This refers to individuals seen spending longer than usual amounts of time looking at buildings, bridges, and other structures or unusual photography of such structures by suspicious individuals.
State of Emergency Declared in Florida
In early October, just after the Hamas attacks during a concert on October 7, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Florida, signing an executive order that authorizes emergency management professionals to oversee rescue operations associated with assisting Floridians currently in Israel in returning to their homes in Florida.
The order further authorized operations aimed at providing support to Israel as Israelis deal with Hamas militant groups in the area.
Reporting Suspicious Activity
During the security briefing on Thursday, Attorney General Moody encouraged the public to report anything suspicious to local authorities immediately. A new statewide program allows citizens of Florida to anonymously report crime and tips and to collect rewards if those tips lead to an arrest.
Reports can be made to law enforcement by calling 855-FLA-SAFE or by dialing **TIPS on a mobile phone. In any emergency, individuals should always call 911.
“We can’t do this alone,” Attorney General Moody said. “We need your help.”