Nation's Capital Goes to Higher Alert Level

D.C. Police Chief Says Officers Will be 'Extremely Vigilant'

By Daniela Deane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 7, 2005; 8:58 a.m.

Police in the nation's capital have moved to a higher alert level, dispatching officers armed with machine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs to patrol subway and bus stations in Washington following a series of rush-hour explosions on London's transit system.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said, however, that there was no immediate indication that any similar attacks were planned in the United States. Spokeswoman Katy Montgomery told the Reuters news agency that there was no immediate plan therefore to raise the terrorism threat level in the United States.

"The Department of Homeland Security does not have any intelligence indicating this type of attack is planned in the United States," Montgomery said. "However, I would just also say that we constantly evaluate both the threat information as well as our protective measures."

D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey, in an interview with WTOP radio, said that Washington had "gone to a higher alert" level though. "We're going to be extremely vigilant," Ramsey said.

Washington rush-hour commuters will see more officers at Metro stations and some of those officers will be armed with machine guns. Extra bomb technicians are also on duty and other specialized units have been activated too, Ramsey said.

"We're ramping security immediately," Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith told WTOP radio. A statement on Metro's web site told commuters to be on the look-out for suspicious packages or activities.

Ramsey said police officers have been held over from the last shift to increase manpower in Washington today.

He said a joint operations command has been set up and officers from surrounding jurisdictions have also been called in to help.

If anything appears out of the ordinary on Metro, riders have been asked to call (202) 962-2121. To report any other suspicious activity in D.C., call (202) 727 9099.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company