Civic Leaders Given Poor Information From Emergency Information Services

Poor Info Can Lead to Poor Decisions

Fullerton officials did not get enough information from state and federal officials about a hoax that started as a potential plutonium scare in Downtown last week, Mayor Bruce Whitaker told the Fullertonian.

“We were given sketchy information about the type of threat that it was and we were warned to keep this under wraps or from saying anything publicly,” he said days after The Fullertonian broke the hoax plutonium scare story, noting that Anaheim was “much better briefed” by the Department of Homeland Security of the situation happening in Fullerton.

The scare happened Jan. 4 when multiple law enforcement agencies went to the Fullerton Police Department after a Homeland Security informant placed a tip that he was in possession of plutonium. Although Public Information Officer Sgt Jeff Stuart was co-operative to the best of his ability, he was unable to provide The Fullertonian with any information and reffered us to the agencies shown in photos taken by Ricky Stauffer, which we sent to the police department. 

Whitaker said that the information given to him and other city officials at the time was “not good enough.” Even though larger cities in Orange County like Anaheim have more direct contact with Homeland Security, he found it “illogical” that such agencies would keep Fullerton leades in the dark about something dangerous that could potentially happen in the City.

Even though it turned out that the man actually had magnets, not plutonium, Whitaker said that efforts should be made so that Fullerton officials could be well informed about serious events like the plutonium scare last week and will meet with Anaheim and Federal officials to discuss future notifications.

“The first thing you do is try to ensure there’s a real threat before you unnecessarily alarm people, but then second of all there’s an expectation by the citizens here - that certainly the Mayor and the Council members, the City Manager and the Chief of Police would be in the loop,” Whitaker said.

http://thefullertonian.com/Content/Article/

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