September 8, 2006
Monday marks five years since the September 11 attacks. Since that time, law enforcement in this country has changed dramatically including one of the countries biggest investigatory agencies.
"It's a war that continues and will continue for a long, long time," said Charles Cunningham, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Richmond Field Office.
Since the attacks of September 11, the FBI has changed its direction, focusing on mostly terrorism related investigations. The bureau has set aside many previous responsibilities, leaving local law enforcement to fill the gaps. They say it is a give and take.
"We provide local and state agencies with the assistance they need so they can continue and see the value of why they need to be involved in a JTTF," Cunningham said.
The JTTF, or Joint Terrorism Task Force was developed after 9/11 to enlist the help of local law enforcement with the War on Terror. Here in Central Virginia, Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia Police forces are a part of the task force. They are the eyes and ears for the community.
"There are approximately 800,000 [Nationwide] sworn law enforcement officers. That is where the intelligence comes from. That is a good starting point," said Cunningham.
However, the police agencies say they can't do it alone. It takes a vigilant community to report any strange activity.
"They know it's out of the ordinary, they live there. They report that to their local law enforcement agency and they would in turn report that to the Joint Terrorism Task Force and then we could look into it," said Clifford Holly, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Richmond Field Office.
As always, if you believe you have a matter that should be investigated by the FBI, they say to give them a call. Also, the bureau is offering a citizen's police academy that begins September 19.