Los Angeles Steps Up Security After Bin Laden's Death

The Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are upping security in light of the killing of Osama bin Laden. For at least the next month, extra officers will patrol potential terrorist targets: schools, churches, synagogues, military recruitment centers and sporting events.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Some large cities around the U.S. are worried about a possible attack in retaliation for the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports on how Los Angeles is stepping up security.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO: L.A.'s Police Chief Charlie Beck says there's no specific threat to Los Angeles, but his department is still on alert against potential al-Qaida attacks.

Chief CHARLIE BECK (Los Angeles Police Department): We have to be ever mindful that taking away the leader does not remove the organization.

DEL BARCO: So for at least the next month, Beck is sending out extra officers to patrol potential terrorist targets - schools, churches, synagogues, military recruitment centers, and even sporting events.

Chief BECK: Dodgers, Lakers playoffs - go Lakers - we will make sure that not only do our fans remain safe, but that those areas are not targets for extremists of any type.

DEL BARCO: L.A.'s Coast Guard captain says Harbor Police are in the water and in the air, guarding the country's busiest port. And security is somewhat beefed up at the L.A. International Airport.

Passengers like Jorge Bonales and Ellen Rivas had to walk past German Shepherd guard dogs and officers armed with high powered weapons.

Mr. JORGE BONALES: LAX is always, you know, focal point. You know, this is the entrance from the Pacific, so yes, by all means. So we have to stay on guard until, you know, we feel a little bit safer.

Ms. ELLEN RIVAS: You never know, anywhere you look or turn. But it is, it's comforting to see the police, the uniforms. Definitely.

DEL BARCO: Another passenger, Scott Freebairin, had his truck searched on the way into the airport.

Mr. SCOTT FREEBAIRIN: We have a camper shell, so they just checked in there, looked inside. It was a visual search. It wasn't necessary; I've got nothing to hide. But I'm sure, you know, if they find just one person that's wanting to do a bad thing, then that's okay.

DEL BARCO: L.A. officials are now asking the public for tips on possible threats. Chief Beck says Angelinos can help by reporting any suspicious behavior.

Chief BECK: Now this can be many things. It could be chemicals. It could be increased traffic - could be anything. You can see things are out of place.

DEL BARCO: Beck says if something doesn't make sense to you, there's probably a reason.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

WERTHEIMER: This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Im Linda Wertheimer.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And Im Steve Inskeep.

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