The City of Santa Monica has put extra security measures in place after receiving reports of suspicious activities on Santa Monica Pier.
According to an August 10 Santa Monica Police press release, still photographs of three Middle Eastern men videotaping the Pier were given to the department on July 22 by the person who took them. The “subsequent investigation of the incident determined that these same individuals were also seen taking suspicious video in two other [Southern California] communities.”
Santa Monica Police Lieutenant Frank Fabrega told the Mirror Tuesday that the City responded immediately by “adding an additional police presence at the Pier and the Third Street Promenade and they will remain there until the City and the Police Chief believe this deployment should be discontinued.”
The City’s Police and Fire Chiefs met in closed session with the City Council last Tuesday to brief them about the photographs and to request $2 million in additional funding to beef up security at the Pier and the Promenade on a permanent basis. According to City spokesperson Judy Rambeau, $1.5 million would be used for security cameras, and the balance would be used to purchase two bomb-sniffing K-9 dogs and officer training on use of the dogs, as well as overtime expenses for additional officer deployments.
In an e-mail to the Mirror Rambeau said, “The Council does not authorize expenditures in closed session. The City Manager, Finance Director, Police and Fire Chiefs and other Department heads involved are working together, as they do with any purchasing matter not anticipated in the budget, to identify funding options and initiate procurements. Appropriation authority will be sought where necessary at upcoming Council meetings.”
The police press release also stated that the Police Chief “wants to assure residents, business owners, and visitors that the Department is increasing security as a pre-emptive measure against any potential threats or other security breaches.”
A Los Angeles Times story on August 13 stated that “the FBI looked into the matter, and with information at the time, it was deemed not a threat. We [the FBI] are working jointly with Santa Monica [police] to look into the matter.”
Rambeau also mentioned that the City took this as “an opportunity to improve City security so people can fully enjoy the Pier and Promenade as always.”The police press release concluded by stating “the Police Department will continue to be proactive to reinforce security at public spaces that attract large crowds so visitors will be comfortable coming to Santa Monica and can enjoy all we have to offer. Santa Monica is not the only U.S. destination that is taking every proactive measure and raising security levels.”