Mayor says steps being taken to maximize city security

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - City, state and local officials met Thursday to say there's no credible threat of a terrorist attack in New Orleans or anywhere in the state.

The mayor says he's been in touch with Paris's security team to offer help and try and learn  lessons to keep the city safe.

New video out of Paris shows the brazenness of a terror attack that few saw coming.

"The events in Paris last week were a game changer," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who said he has reached out to Parisian authorities and wants to assure New Orleanians that steps are being taken to keep the city safe.

"New Orleans is a big league city," he said. "We have lots of events that have to be secured, and the New Orleans team is one of the best-prepared in the country."

The mayor said there is no credible threat of a terrorist event here, but the same was true in Paris last week.

"It's easy to Monday morning quarterback. I'm sure there were threads out there, but to my knowledge there was no credible threat," Tulane University terrorism expert Michael Wallace said.

Detecting terror threats is an ever changing game. Terrorists use the latest technologies to communicate, and Wallace said Isis is better at it than Al Quaida.

"They've gone back to messengers, people who carry a message from one to the other," said Wallace.

Local officials say they are better organized than ever. They conduct 12 exercises a year, including one last Saturday, to prepare.

"As a result of the exercises, we've bought new gas masks, new chemical biological detection units," said Aaron Miller, with New Orleans Homeland Security.

Among those participating in those exercises, the city's new FBI special agent-in-charge, who was in Boston, when the bombings occurred there two years ago.

"In Paris, we don't have enough information yet to determine how we can do things better," said Jeffrey Sallet, with the FBI.

As for the issue of Syrian refugees, the mayor says there are currently no credible threats among the Syrians now in Louisiana, but he said he welcomes whatever fine-tuning can be done on the federal level to make the vetting process better.

"Let Congress and the president have that discussion," said Landrieu.

Officials say everyone must be vigilant.

"The biggest thing, if you see something that's out of normal, say something," Wallace said.

The mayor is also urging the feds to adequately fund the anti-terror fight across the country. He said part of the funding problem arose when the terror threat was downgraded in America. He said events in Paris show that needs to change.

Again, anyone who sees anything suspicious is asked to call New Orleans police at 821-2222, or the State Police Fusion Center at (800) 434 8007.

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