Butler County sheriff ramps up training, security after FBI warning of terror attacks

At the National Sheriff’s Association Conference in Washington, D.C, last week, Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones heard warnings from the FBI of imminent terrorist attacks on the U.S., and he is out to make sure his department is prepared.

“It’s not if they are going to attack, it’s just when they are,” Jones said. “There are people already here who have come to this country who hate us and want to kill us.”

Lines of attack, he said he was told, will be through cyber attacks, crippling power grids, train derailments and cells of armed terrorists who target multiple areas of the country.

Cyber attacks already have happened, including one that affected the BCSO in 2020 when the dispatch center was crippled.

The sheriff’s office is “getting five cyber hack attempts a day by the Chinese, three times a day by the Iranians, and we got hacked two years ago by the Russians,” Jones said. “And that is not just us. I assume they are doing that all over the country.”

Jones said the Chinese have the U.S. outnumbered 50 to 1 in people working on cyber attacks and prevention.

“Their deal is to cause us disruption in our county. To cause chaos in our country, not like next week — now. From the red flags and chatter that they (FBI) are hearing,” he said.

Jones said the FBI also said people have come across the border to “do harm to us … that they have never seen it this bad.”

Thousands of people are working to disrupt the country, including national and local elections, he said.

“They told us we need to be prepared to talk to local county election people to be prepared,” Jones said. “They want us to lose faith in our government.”

He said big cities will not just be the target, terrorists also will hit in smaller cities and rural areas where people typically feel safe.

“The terrorists are here, we have already been told that, from 160 countries that want to do us harm,” Jones said. “We have been told by the FBI that they are here and it is just a matter of time before they attack.”

“I am talking about people who want to attack Americans, and I would be a fool to think that is not going to happen,” Jones said. “The national government can’t take care of it all. There is more local police than FBI. It all comes down to preparing for it.”

Jones is changing training for his department, starting with equipping all cruisers with rifles immediately. Hazmat training and equipment will be expanded.

A training class for the public will be held in May.

The “When Disaster Strikes: Prepare, Act, Survive” course is designed to teach and encourage community members impacted by a disaster to prepare, take preservation actions and perform, as appropriate, light search and rescue response to aid their family and other community members in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster or human-made incident.

Jones wants the state to have the ability to order immigrants to leave the U.S. when facing felony convictions.

He also is requesting a task force be appointed by the governor to provide protection and enforcement in “our northern border.”

“Numerous agents have moved to the southern border, leaving the northern border exposed, Jones wrote. “I have visited our southern border and discussed the unprotected northern border with many agencies. Our border is nothing more than a simple line on a map that no one seems to care about.”

And Jones requested a full-time department specializing in cyber security be appointed at the state level.

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