Preventing terrorism in Harrisburg

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Sen. Bob Casey met with the Harrisburg mayor and police chief to talk about dealing with violence and terrorist threats in the city Monday.

Casey said he would like more money for hiring police officers through the COPS grant program and for bullet proof vest funding. He said the federal government can help Pennsylvania with funding for certain programs.

Casey said, "The challenge we face is not a challenge that Washington itself can deal with. Washington has to work in close partnership with someone at the local level."

He said it's also important to have preventative programs for violent extremism.

"Working at the community level with people who are expert at making sure that we are taking steps in advance from going down the path of being involved in violent extremism," he said.

The arrest in December of ISIS supporter Jalil Aziz showed that terrorists are using advanced technical skills - and the police chief said police need proper funding to help combat this problem.

Chief Thomas Carter said, "This problem will not just disappear overnight. We don't know how many people are out there, if any. But I guarantee that if they can reach someone like him, they can reach other people. So the threat is real."

The senator and mayor said the most important component is for the federal and local governments to work together to deal with the threat and reality of terrorism.

The COPS grant program to hire more police officers has met opposition in Congress, but Casey and Harrisburg officials said it is important for the city.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse said, "The entire growth in the Harrisburg police department for this coming year is based entirely on that cops grant. If we didn't have that, we would not be able to grow our department and we would not be able to provide an adequate level of public safety."

He said the recent arrest of the ISIS supporter in Harrisburg was a great example of the federal and local government working together to prevent a terrorist attack.

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