The annual Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop was held in Chicago Tuesday, but this year it took on special significance as it was held just days after the horrific terror attacks in Paris.
More than 200 public safety experts gathered at McCormick Place to brainstorm how to thwart the efforts of terrorists, like those who targeted public venues in Paris last week, leaving at least 129 people dead.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy were among those who spoke at the meeting, addressing public safety efforts in Chicago and nationwide. Emanuel discussed efforts to keep Chicago residents safe as well as working to prevent future acts of terrorism, while McCarthy warned of the difficulty in fighting terrorism.
"We've come a long way, but they've come a long way, too, the bad guys," McCarthy said.
The conference was held amid tighter security across the country and in Chicago.
Those who went to the Chicago Bulls game Monday night saw a beefed-up police presence outside the United Center. Other crowded areas throughout the city, such as train stations, will also have additional patrols. The security increase has been dispatched throughout Chicago’s suburbs as well.
There has been no threat to Chicago, but security experts agree the extra precautions are a necessity.
“This attack has clearly shown this terrorist group is targeting the innocence of our world,” said former U.S. Secret Service agent Arnette Heintze, who founded security strategy company Hillard Heintze.
The 21st annual Joint Counterterrorism Awareness Workshop by the National Counterterrorism Center, U.S. Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.