California security high for Fourth

The Associated Press -
Thursday July 04, 2002

SACRAMENTO — Californians will see extra police aircraft in the sky, more Coast Guard boats in the water and more patrolmen on the highways during Independence Day weekend as a result of last fall’s terrorist attacks. 

But there are no specific threats nor any indication California is being targeted by terrorists during the holiday, officials said Tuesday. 

All 30 highway patrol aircraft will be in the air virtually around the clock starting Wednesday, monitoring aqueducts, bridges, highways and areas where large groups are expected to gather, said California Highway Patrol Commissioner D.O. “Spike” Helmick. 

There will be extra sea and air surveillance of major bridges and ferries in the San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego areas. 

A 60-member “special operations team” trained in riot control will be stationed near Hollister, where 60,000 motorcyclists expected to attend the Hollister Independence Rally south of San Francisco. Another team will be on duty in Southern California. Both also could respond to other emergencies such as a terror attack, Helmick said. 

Patrol cars scattered around the state will be carrying radiation detection equipment, Helmick said, but they did that even before Sept. 11. 

The California National Guard will not be on any special alert, and no military air patrols are planned over major cities, as was the case immediately after Sept. 11, officials said.