Herb Jaffe: Metro detective discusses how to neutralize terrorist threat

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department wants the public to be keenly aware of potential terrorists and assailants, Detective Sgt. Steve Riback said during a recent Sabbath address at Chabad of Summerlin Synagogue.

“Under circumstances where an active assailant might intrude upon the premises during a time of prayer, there are ways to protect yourselves,” he said at the synagogue, at 2640 Regatta Drive in Desert Shores.

“Of course, the best of all worlds would be to have the ability, where possible, to call 911 and look for a quick police response,” he continued. “And if confronted with such a criminal situation, try to dial that number, even if you’re lying on the floor to protect yourself or you’re in a hidden area.”

Riback also suggested retreating, running while leaving personal belongings, and trying to help others if possible.

“Use whatever means you can and whatever objects you have at your disposal as weapons of (some) sort,” he said. “For example, even throwing a book can be enough to distract an assailant, putting him off-guard.”

A veteran of 19 years with Metro, Riback is attached to the Northwest Area Command at 9850 W. Cheyenne Ave.

“Individuals who are actively engaged in looking to kill innocent people, or attempting to kill, are — about 90 percent of the time – males acting on their own,” he said. “Typically, they become suicidal when confronted by police.”

In an interview that followed his address, Riback emphasized that “there are no imminent threats in Las Vegas. We just want people to be informed and cautious.”

It should be noted that the threat to Jewish houses of worship and other Jewish centers has intensified recently in cities across the country. More than 50 hoax bomb threats to Jewish centers have been reported since Jan. 1, and a Jewish cemetery in Missouri was desecrated several days ago, with more than 100 tombstones knocked over.

Riback said Metro wants the public to think proactively if confronted with an armed intruder, adding, “People have to realize that generally there’s a time lapse before police arrive. And sometimes they have to think if there’s a way for them to get involved should such a threat exist. As police officers, we don’t have a monopoly on self-defense. Sometimes people have to look for ways to become forceful, depending on the circumstances, of course.

“We want to be as proactive as possible — rather than have to be reactive – to help people feel more secure,” Riback said.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

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