A lot has changed in the 10 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks, Newtown Township Chief of Police Rick Pasqualini says. The ”most dramatic changes” are inter-agency information sharing and improved communication.
“The used to work in Bucks, now we work with police from around the area,” said the chief.
The chief, who oversees Newtown Township’s 28 sworn officers, said police chiefs around the nation now receive daily bulletins from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies.
Another way law enforcement has changed since 2001 is the amount of federal grants for equipment and training that are available, he added.
Pasqualini said his officers have received additional training due to grants. Federal grant money also goes toward several regional Special Response Teams. The teams range from SWAT units to Haz-Mat response crews and a county-wide Major Incident Response Team. Newtown has several officers that are part of the specialized teams, he said.
“We have several people assigned to the Special Response Team. They train with other police and feds, including the Philadelphia Police Department,” said Pasqualini. In addition, several drills are held yearly to teach and test law enforcement.
Since the September 11 attacks, Pasqualini said police departments have better communication equipment due to the focus on radio compatibility between police, fire and EMS.
The chief spoke of how Bucks County will be upgrading its emergency radio system in January of 2013. The upgrade with make first responders radios more reliable.
While Pasqualini could recall no specific threats in the Newtown area, he said Americans need to keep up a their awareness and report suspicious activity.