REPORTER: Jeff Ferrell
It is a question so many people ask themselves: "Are we any safer or at least any more prepared since 9/11? Police and fire crews got a glimpse of that answer today in one part of the Ark-La-Tex. It was a bomb scare in downtown Shreveport. And it caused some tense moments. But once the scare was over, it turned out to be a good training session.
Confusion and a bit of chaos started the day for some folks in downtown Shreveport, after Sportran buses were evacuated from the bus station because of that bomb scare. Police and fire crews rushed to the site of the bag, left unattended at the corner of Milam and Edwards, right in front of the downtown post office. Shreveport Police Lt. Tony LeBlanc tells News 12, "any time you have a package left in front with a United States Postal building, throws up a concern for me."
People inside the post office were kept inside, until a bomb technician x-rayed the bag, finding only jeans, tennis shoes and a binder. While the intent of the person who left this bag in front of the post office remains unclear, if for example, someone does it on purpose the very least a person could be charged with is criminal mischief.
In such bomb scares, Assistant Fire Chief Randy Stephens says, "this day and age we just don't take a chance. We'll treat it as a destructive or explosive, potential explosive, until we can determine differently." That perspective since 9/11 also motivated the creation of what's called the Disaster Assessment Response Team, which arrived at this incident.
It's a four man team which helps to quickly create an 'Incident Command System,' to better guarantee the right people get to the right location at the right time. Lt. LeBlanc added, "our biggest thing is to make sure that we go through and get a perimeter set-up."
On this day, officials say everything went according to plan. So, are we ready for a potential disaster, man-made or otherwise? according to Lt. LeBlanc the answer is: "Most definitely."
Assistant Chief Stephens tells News 12, the Shreveport Fire Department will be getting a bomb robot in three months, at a cost of 136-thousand dollars. Homeland Security funds are paying for the new device.