ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – With the trenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 looming, public groups across the area are takikng precautions, and maybe none more seriously than the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers’ home games this weekend make Rangers Ballpark in Arlington the largest public attraction in North Texas, meaning members of the National Guard are on hand to provide an extra layer of protection against any unforeseen threat.
It also makes for a weekend for somber reflection and vigilance. “It was a big part of my life, I had an uncle who died in the World Trade Center, that effects my life deeply,” says Jerry Barrera, who is among the thousands of fans grateful to see the National Guard patrolling the Ballpark.
It’s the second time the Guard has been asked to bring in equipment and generally shadow law enforcement around 9-11 anniversaries, just to watch and help if needed. “Certainly our hope is that fans embrace it and feel more comfortable with not only our law enforcement presence but our military presence here as well,” says Rangers Vice President of operatioinsd Rob Matwick.
Across North Texas law enforcement and first responders are ready. DFW Airport and DART have beefed up security. The Fort Worth Police Department and the Tarrant County Sheriff can roll out people if needed. The city of Dallas will open up its Emergency Operations Center in a standby mode. “We are prepared; we have extra individuals in place, we heightened our awareness, heightened our vigilance, heightened our visibility,” says Deputy Chief Brian Harvey of the Dallas Police Department.
Local FBI head Robert Casey acknowledges credible threats have surfaced for New York and Washington, but says they’re vague. “It’s about the unknown. So we’re dealing in a world of gray, much more gray than black and white.”
But the vigilance can provide comfort, and with the National Guard at the ballpark, even inspiration…. for youngsters not yet born on that fateful day. “I think it’s great….because they help our country,” says 8-year-old Jack Mitchell of Grand Prairie. And he’s quick to add, “they’re AWESOME!”