The price of orange
How one major city deals with the threat of terrorism and the costs it brings.
May 21, 2003: 4:15 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN) - Raising the threat level to orange also means more green. The cost that is to the cities, the counties, the states, of beefing up security.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Charles Temtarali, deputy commissioner for counterterrorism in Philadelphia, to find out how one major city is dealing with the threat -- and the bill.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Mr. Temtarali, thanks very much for joining us. What does this specifically mean for Philadelphia?


When the color code under the home advisory system is changed, we already have predesignated options and alternatives for our police commissioner. We work very closely here in Philadelphia with our local FBI office, and the first thing that we do here in Philadelphia is, we sit down with our counterparts in the federal sector, and we assess all of the available intelligence information.

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And then based upon all of the intelligence that we have, we make a set of recommendations to our police commissioner in regards to the options and alternatives that we think he should avail himself of.

BLITZER: When Secretary Tom Ridge, who made the announcement yesterday, that the federal government was going to this higher level from yellow to orange, what specifically in Philadelphia do you have to do, and do you have enough money to pay for the overtime, the extra work presumably that this higher level demands?

TEMTARALI: Well, we have enough personnel. We have a counterterrorism bureau in the Philadelphia Police Department. And we also have a substantial joint terrorism task force under the auspices of the FBI. So our personnel is more than efficient. When we need additional personnel from our patrol and our special patrol ranks, we utilize overtime.

And when it comes to the safety of the citizens in the city of Philadelphia, our first concern is addressing their safety. And we will address the money issues after we feel that they are secure.

BLITZER: Are you getting all of the intelligence, all of the information you need and expect from Washington to help you do your job?

TEMTARALI: Yes, the relationship between the Philadelphia police and the FBI here in Philadelphia is excellent. My commanders meet with the FBI field commanders two and three times a week to discuss active investigations. The head of the task force was in my office this morning, discussing recent information that they have just received.

I think it's an excellent relationship. I am completely satisfied with it, as is our police commissioner.

BLITZER: As you know, commissioner, we're going into a holiday weekend, Memorial Day weekend. Not far beyond that is the fourth of July, a big celebration, Philadelphia obviously playing an important part in that. What, if anything, should people in Philadelphia, in your city, do differently now at this higher threat level?

TEMTARALI: Well, we have an outreach section in our counterterrorism bureau under our domestic preparedness section, and they are out every day. They visit the businesses. They visit different work sites, the community groups, and they utilize the taps program, which tells our citizens what to look for, how to record it and who to report it to. So we do this on a regular basis. We personally address our citizens.

But on the fourth of July, we handle the Republican National Convention. We handle many major events. We put a lot of time and effort into these big events. We want people to come to Philadelphia and enjoy themselves on the Fourth of July. We will be working hard.

BLITZER: I was in Philadelphia on Monday at the University of Pennsylvania. Had a wonderful time there, Mr. Temtarali, the deputy commissioner of the police department in Philadelphia. Thank you very much for joining us. Good luck to you, and good luck to everyone in Philadelphia.  Top of page

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