MPD chief says they’re looking at crowds differently amidst ISIS holiday threat

MPD chief says they’re looking at crowds differently amidst ISIS holiday threat

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said his department’s officers are more vigilant after the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned an ISIS-inspired July Fourth holiday weekend attack could happen.

“I do think our officers have a higher sense of scrutiny,” Koval said. “That we’re looking at packages differently. We’re looking at crowds a little differently.”

That scrutiny included police presence at Thursday’s Elver Park fireworks celebration.

While Koval said good weather combined with no school or curfew has historically meant increased gang activity at the event, this year’s federal alert also increased the scope of possible problems they were looking for.

“It gives us all pause to look with heightened scrutiny at things or activities or individuals that are behaving differently all around us, given that heightened sense of imminence or importance,” Koval said.

The fear is a lone wolf, anywhere in the country, could act on ISIS’ message to attack because of a perceived defamation of the Prophet Muhammad, which is why Koval said it is important for his officers to be armed with a higher sense of security.