CINCINNATI – In an effort to prevent attacks like that in Orlando this weekend from happening in Greater Cincinnati, local law enforcement officials network with others across the country.
The Greater Cincinnati Fusion Center and its counterparts were closely monitoring the situation in Orlando. Authorities in the Tri-State said there are no credible threats for Hamilton County and Greater Cincinnati.
“Everyone should be comfortable and continue doing what they normally do,” Capt. Mike Hartzler of the Fusion Center said. “And if they see any suspicious activity, report it.”
Hartzler heads the Fusion Center. He gets real-time briefings from Florida and relays them to other local law enforcement as needed.
“In cases like this, you never know when the shoe may drop somewhere else,” he said. “So, you don’t know if it’s a planned multi-attack plan throughout the country. You never know.”
The most dangerous individual is the so-called “lone wolf,” acting alone, according to Hartzler.
The best-known local example is Christopher Cornell, who is currently awaiting trial on charges that he wanted to attack Washington D.C.
“Someone who has been radicalized, who is quiet – just someone we don’t know of – and they pop up and have planned an attack such as this and they carry it out; it’s very difficult to stay one step ahead of people like that,” Hartzler said.
Ed Bridgeman, a terrorism expert and the head of the University of Cincinnati's Criminal Justice Technology Program, called lone wolf attacks "the future for terrorism."
"They don't need a whole lot of resources," Bridgeman said. "They don't need a whole lot of infrastructure, a whole lot of direction."
While investigators work the case in Florida, Harztler said local authorities also plan to stay vigilant.
“I don’t call this a tragedy,” he said. “I call it an horrific violent attack. A tragedy is when someone is killed in a car accident. This is an unprovoked attack, and an horrific attack.”
Bridgeman re-iterated that anyone who sees something, should say something.
"You don't have to be Marine recon or ninja trained," he said. "Anti-terrorism is just neighborhood watch writ large."