Monday, September 21, 2015

The Threat Exists: Protecting Pope Francis in America

On September 10, I attended a NYPD SHIELD conference with over 500 law enforcement and private security professionals at One Police Plaza in New York City.

NYPD SHIELD is an outstanding public private partnership dedicated to countering terrorism through information sharing.

The agenda for the event focused extensively on the upcoming visit of Pope Francis.

During his opening remarks, Commissioner William J. Bratton stressed that American law enforcement, specifically the NYPD, have an unprecedented upcoming security challenge later this month.

Bratton emphasized that it would be the first time that the U.N. General Assembly, had simultaneous visits with a pope and our president.

Compounding these security complexities, with the United Nations event alone involving leaders from 170 countries, Bratton also noted that the Jewish high holyday of Yom Kippur and a Central Park concert with an estimated 100,000 people will also be taking place.

Each of these events alone demands meticulously orchestrated security principles of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. But with Pope Francis at the same time making spontaneous encounters with people, the need for impeccable vigilance is intensified further.

Vigilance: An Essential Security Principle

Honoring the NYPD SHIELD concept, I gave a briefing on September 17 to 100 members and guests of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association (BCPCA) in New Jersey. The attendees included police chiefs from over 70 jurisdictions and the FBI.

It has been my privilege to serve the BCPCA as a committee spokesperson addressing issues of leadership, violence prevention, crisis planning, and community policing at monthly meetings for the last 12 years.

During my briefing I shared concerns addressed at the NYPD SHIELD conference and disseminated copies of my February 27 Epoch Times article titled “Terrorism Concerns Accelerate: Protecting America.”

Although Pope Francis is an inspirational leader of forgiveness, compassion, and charity to many religious persuasions and nonbelievers as well, I stressed to the BCPCA that there are individuals with nefarious intentions.

The commander of the Vatican security forces has confirmed “the threat exists” against Pope Francis from ISIS, although he stated “we know of no plan for an attack against the Vatican or the Holy Father.”

Pope Francis personifies everything that not only the Islamic State despises, but he is also a target to others who would profane religion to justify violence including al-Qaida, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, or others with a demented agenda, including lone wolf assailants.

Recently, the FBI arrested a 15-year-old boy outside of Philadelphia for allegedly threatening an ISIS inspired assault on Pope Francis while he tours America.

Pope John Paul II: Attempted Assassination

The May 13, 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, who was seriously wounded by gunfire in Saint Peter’s Square, is a horrifying reminder of hate, violence, and depravity.

The assailant, an escaped Turkish murderer, fired four shots at the pontiff, one of which hit him in the abdomen narrowly missing vital organs; and the other that hit his left hand.

After being rushed to a Rome hospital, the pope underwent more than five hours of surgery and survived after being listed in critical but stable condition.

Although the motives of the assailant remain obscure, one lesson is painstakingly obvious, that a pope is a possible target of assassination.

National Security Special Event

The visit of Pope Francis has been deemed by what the Department of Homeland Security labels a “national security special event” and will be under the command of the Secret Service.

Protecting the pope will be an incredible task demanding collaboration of the NYPD, Secret Service, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, many other law enforcement agencies including the Vatican's Swiss Guard, and private security professionals.

Complementing these dedicated professionals, the vigilant eyes, ears, and voices of the public are also critical to protecting Pope Francis and other possible soft or high profile targets representing our cherished way of life.

Although there is no specific or credible threat at this time, let us be vigilant in protecting Pope Francis and our safeguarding our homeland as to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

Note Well:
Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

Facebook: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

As authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

1. Pope Francis, Saint Peter's Square, May 13,2013.(Edgar Jimenez)
2. Numerous law enforcement agencies collaborate at NYPD headquarters on Sept. 14, 2015 as part of Pope Francis security preparations. (Courtesy FBI)
3. Pope Francis, Bethlehem, May 25, 2014. (Mustafa Badar)

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home