NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - It was awful day in America, and while it was not the way local communities wanted to learn a valuable lesson, they ultimately did.
"Certainly, there were a lot of lessons learned. We're a better-equipped department, and so policing is really the tip of the spear. The first-responders are the first to get to anything, and so not only are we prepared, but we actually practice," said New Orleans Police Chief Michael Harrison.
New Orleans city government created a new department following the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
"The country is a lot better prepared, you know, but you have to stay vigilant all the time, you know. Of course, we have a new complete department of Homeland Security that we didn't have before," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
And the city has made investments to give police officers more tools to head off such attacks and respond if they should happen.
"Subsequent to 9/11, we've done a lot of work in making sure that officers have the equipment that they need, that we have the technology that we need and that we're coordinating with our federal and state partners. There's a Fusion Center, which is where we collect a lot of intelligence against potential terrorists threats and homeland security threats. We drill on it," Landrieu said.
Of course, there's stepped-up vigilance on the waterways and at ports around the country, but terrorists are always changing their strategies. The terrorist attacks in Europe involving vehicles are evidence of that. And recently on U.S. soil in Charlottesville, VA, a white supremacist drove his vehicle into crowds of counter protesters, according to authorities.
"Yeah, we saw that, that's one of the reasons we talked about the security plan on Bourbon Street, because we have millions of people that come into town. And of course, you saw it on an accidental side at the Endymion Parade, and so we just have to do a better job in trying to secure. But at the end of the day when somebody wants to do harm, you know, they're going to find a way. You have to have a quick and ready response, and we do that a lot," Landrieu said
"When you see us with those large events, you see us blocking streets and blocking streets so that cars, trucks, people cannot use that kind of equipment to mow down people who are at these large events that are hosted here in New Orleans, and so we barricade and block a lot," Harrison said.
Because of what happened on Sept. 11, we have forever changed what it means to communities to be prepared.
"That was an awful day. Our hearts and prayers are still with the victims who lost people and then the survivors of 9/11," Harrison said.
Harrison said social media can sometimes be a help. But oftentimes there are lone actors who keep their plans secret, so law enforcement urges the public to report any suspicious activity.