Wisconsinites encouraged to help fight terrorism - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wisconsinites encouraged to help fight terrorism

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Walker, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and other public safety officials say Wisconsin will use billboards and television announcements to urge citizen tip calls as part of the federal homeland security initiative, "If You See Something, Say Something."

During a news conference Friday, Van Hollen said calls and emails about suspicious activity will be processed through the state's law enforcement information-gathering resources and correlated with other intelligence.

U.S. Homeland Security Administrator Betsy Martin says tip-information through the program has proven important. She cites a citizen call about a back-pack on a parade route in Spokane, Washington. Martin says law enforcement response led to the parade being re-routed, and the discovery of an explosive, which was deactivated.

Martin says the program's focus on behavior rather than appearances protects civil liberties.

Walker says the program's approach reminds him of being a neighborhood watch captain in Wauwatosa, when he used non-emergency channels to alert authorities to a suspicious car.

Walker says the car's presence turned out to present no threat, but as with "If You See Something, Say Something," contacting law enforcement allows experts to make risk assessments.

"Trying to cycle through, 'Does this qualify? Not qualify?' If you think it qualifies, if you have concern, just call," Walker said.

Van Hollen says it would even be appropriate for a gun dealer to call in concerns over a large ammunition purchase, although he noted such purchases are ordinarily for "innocent purposes."

Officials say concerns over social media posts or other concerning behavior of someone such as Wade Michael Page, who was identified as the killer in a mass shooting earlier this summer at an Oak Creek Sikh temple, would be examples of suspicions warranting contact with the program. 

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