What can the Bay area learn from Boston? - WFLA News Channel 8

What can the Bay area learn from Boston?

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The Boston Police Department's Tweet Friday night will likely go down in history:  "CAPTURED! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody."

A retired FBI Special Agent says there is an important lesson for the Bay area from the manhunt in Boston: be a vigilant community.

"That is going to be the success or failure of this country's battle against terrorism: it's going to be in the degree of assistance that we can get from the American public," said Brian Kensel, who spent 24 years with the FBI.

Twenty of those were with the federal agency's SWAT Team.

"Law enforcement cannot solve the terrorism problem by itself," he said. "Like the bumper sticker says; if you see something, say something."

One thing that's arming the public: technology.  There's no doubt cameras throughout Boston helped police identify suspects.  Officers suggest getting into a habit of (while avoiding a dangerous situation) jot down any details you remember from a crime immediately.  Use your cell phone for photos, videos or notes of the scene.

"I worked bank robberies for 20-plus years ... I saw it all the time ... I had victims, tellers, who couldn't agree on whether [the suspect] was black or white," Kensel said. "Chemicals that are released into the body and into the brain in a circumstance like that, that's high stress absolutely destroy short-term memory."

He said communication is also changing the law enforcement community internally.

"Agencies of all sizes, they're involved and everyone seems to be playing well together and sharing information," Kensel said.

Departments have worked on problems revealed on September 11, 2001, and have worked on improving in communications systems since.

"Any venue, any city, small as it may be, may have something, be it a theme park, a water treatment plant or anything else that's a potential target," Kensel said.

The majority of police departments in the U.S. have less than 50 officers on hand, he says.

"Those law enforcement agencies recognize too ... their jurisdiction could become a target of terrorists and as a result have set up communications up and down the spectrum of law enforcement," he said.

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