Remembering 9/11

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We talked to police chiefs about their experiences on 9/11 and how law enforcement was affected.

I think that what happened on September 11th has changed law enforcement forever.

Watch sample video of WatchGuard body-worn cameras and in-car cameras.

Video Transcript

Captain Timothy Albright, Elk Grove Police Department, California

Each person has a story as to how that day went for them, where they were. We all remember where we were, what we were doing. I remember my wife and I had both worked graveyard that night and had just fallen asleep when we received a phone call from family members telling us to turn on the news.

Chief Kelly Stillman, Rocky River Police Department, Ohio

There we sat and watched our own country being attacked. That’s rough. I’m a proud American, I love this country and to sit and watch that… it’s rough and it’s still rough to me today.

Deputy Chief Martin Bender, Fort Wayne Police Department, Indiana

And I think everybody was pretty much in the same boat. Nobody knew what was going on for sure.

Captain Timothy Albright, Elk Grove Police Department, California

In short order, we got showered and knew that it was just time to go to work and that our day, our week, our month, our lives were altered. That we now had to embrace a threat to our society and to our America that we had never envisioned never thought would be here but was here.

News Cast

We have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

If this was an accident, it would be a needle in a haystack kind of accident.

I’m afraid we’ve got a tragedy on our hands.

I think we have a terrorist act of proportions that we cannot begin to imagine at this juncture.

Chief Michael Lawton, Republic Police Department, Missouri

Clearly, the public was in panic. So the key I think was to build a rapport with the people that we were servicing and making sure that they felt safe. We didn’t know what was going to happen we had no idea if other things were going to occur, but we needed to deliver this secure blanket to the people in the community.

Deputy Chief Martin Bender, Fort Wayne Police Department, Indiana

We made a lot of arrangements that day. Thank God nothing ever happened where we had to actually implement it, but I think we were pretty much ready or as ready as we could be.

Chief Kelly Stillman, Rocky River Police Department, Ohio

The teletype came out I remember from New York City looking for volunteers to go there and help and guys were, Hey, you know, put my name down, and we sent in, I don’t know, probably eight or 10 names.

Chief Marc Montminy, Manchester Police Department, Connecticut

We ended up sending people to 9/11, to New York City and most of what we did was support because that’s what they needed. They needed somebody to work traffic post, they needed somebody to help bring food to wherever it needed to go, they needed somebody to provide bunks and things that of that nature. And it was therapeutic for us to help out. It was cathartic to go to the scene and do whatever you could do.

Chief Rich Wallace, Amberley Village Police Department, Ohio

This has changed the whole perspective of policing. We used to look at terrorism and things as being a global thing worldwide, but now we’re realizing now that we have to be on the edge for homegrown terrorism. We’re going to continue to experience this, we’re going to continue to have attacks, we’re going to continue to have to have security at events that we never thought we’d have to have.

Assistant Chief Phil Sargent, Muscatine Police Department, IA

It changed how we do business and what we have to do not only locally nationally but the intelligence gathering. It changed completely what we were looking for as we were just going around normal patrol.

Chief Rich Wallace, Amberley Village Police Department, Ohio

I think that what happened on September 11th has changed law enforcement forever.