The past year has brought changes to law enforcement agencies across the nation. In Tuolumne County that means Sheriff, police and Highway Patrol primarily, and there have been changes in all three. CHP Commander Mike Ayala says he´s found a big difference in communication, and information sharing between agencies that previously had little to say to each other. In particular, the FBI has communicated with his office on a regular basis. On the road, there is more attention paid to potential terrorist weapons like tankers carrying flammable or volatile materials. This week in particular is a time for heightened awareness. Ayala´s forces, like deputies and police officers are also at an increased staffing level.
Ayala says there´s a role in protecting against terrorist attacks for all of us to play. He says it´s also necessary for each citizen to notice more than perhaps he or she has in the past, and be sensitive to the unusual. Officers are checking out items that seem out of place on a regular basis. Suspicious packages left by themselves, or vehicles parked where they shouldn´t be are getting more scrutiny these days.