Local experts, police weigh in on suspicious packages


With suspicious packages turning up across the country, political experts are weighing in on the motives of whoever did this. Law enforcement officials are prepared for anything that could happen here.

Suspicious package after suspicious package turning up at political offices, the CNN building in New York, and at postal centers.

Police Science Expert Victor Asal has studied political violence and its causes across the world. He says it’s largely the attitude of those in power who fuel this kind of violence.

“That kind of discourse influences people. Some people brush it off as just talk and some people take it very seriously,” Asal said.

He says it’s especially dangerous when it comes from someone like the president.

“It has a much wider impact. A lot more people hear it and a lot more people believe it.”

Asal says it’s possible these packages are a hoax but says he thinks that’s unlikely.

He says now, it’s time to look toward the future.

“I think that there is a moral responsibility in or leaders in both parties and especially our president to de-escalate this.”

Meanwhile, law enforcement in the Capital Region is focused on a different type of de-escalation.

Smith: “Anything that looks suspicious you’re better to err on the side of caution and call the police,” Steve Smith, of Albany Police, said.

Smith says they have responded to incidents across the city of suspicious packages in the past.

“We’re going to respond and we’re probably going to evacuate the building and do the things we need to do.”

He says they have a K9 dedicated to their Critical Asset Assessment Team but responses like this are a collaborative effort.

He says if you notice something strange, call police right away.

“It could be something out of place. Sometimes the packages may have messages or writing on them.”

The United States Postal Service also responding to some of those packages. A postal inspector says “dangerous mail investigations inspectors are trained to recognize the common characteristics of suspicious mail and are highly proficient in the use of state-of-the-art equipment to include portable x-ray machines. Any reports of suspicious mailings are taken very seriously.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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