HAMILTON, OH - After the FBI Director Christopher Wray warned of a possible terrorist attack in the United States, Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff Richard Jones decided he was going to be proactive in how his agency arms and trains his deputies, Fox-19 in Cincinnati reports.
Jones had just returned from the National Sheriff’s Association’s winter conference in Washington, D.C., where Wray spoke to the group and led him to be convinced that not only was a terrorist attack on the homeland possible, but it was imminent.
Now Jones is saying his agency is going to be ready.
“It’s gonna happen here,” Jones said last week. It’s going to be all hands on deck. We want you to be concerned now. You are a fool if you don’t listen to the chatter.”
Wray warned the group of sheriffs that there are a number of terror threats leveled against the United States, even more so than were issued in the weeks leading up to the 9/11 terror attacks. Those threats increased significantly, they were told, after the October 7, 2023, Hamas attacks against Israel. During a Senate committee hearing last year, Wray made similar remarks to Senators.
There is also increasing concern about a Chinese cyberattack on US infrastructure, including water treatment plants, the electrical grid, oil and natural gas pipelines, and transportation systems intended to disrupt the daily lives of Americans nationwide. Such an attack would likely take place if the U.S. and China engaged in an armed conflict over Taiwan. Wray touched on that last week before a House committee.
Jones said sheriffs were told that the American public has received little information about the possibility of cyberattacks on our infrastructure. They noted they were also advised that China’s hacking force outnumbers FBI cyber and intelligence analysts by “at least a 50-to-1 ratio.”
Jones believes such hacking has already taken place in Butler County, noting Russian hackers were able to gain access to their computer system in late 2020. That hack resulted in the county dispatch center’s automated computer system being down for about ten days, which forced dispatchers to work with pen and paper.
“I was told today China tries to hack our computer system five times a day. Three times a day from Iran and Russia. It’s constant,” he said. “All we are doing is keeping them away the best we can. The FBI can’t help us. It’s too much. Last time, they couldn’t help us.”
The Dayton Daily News reported that Jones said big cities are not the only places vulnerable to a terrorist attack. He said thousands of people are working to disrupt the United States, including local and national elections.
“They told us we need to be prepared to talk to local county election people to be prepared,” Jones said. “They want us to lose faith in our government.
“The terrorists are here, we have already been told that, from 160 countries that want to do us harm,” Jones continued. “The FBI has told us that they are here, and it is just a matter of time before they attack.”
Among the measures Jones has implemented is deploying AR-15 rifles in every cruiser in the county, along with ammunition and magazines. Jones also said the county will change how it trains staff and civilians.
Those changes include ordering more HAZMAT equipment and expanding the current HAZMAT team, which consists of ten members. He also wants to expand the agency’s Citizens on Patrol program. Jones is planning a training program in May to enable citizens to help respond to natural disasters and attacks.
That program will teach community members to assist in disaster relief, take preservation actions, and assist in light search and rescue operations in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster or manmade incident.
“You’ve got to expect they will do something with chemicals or drugs and train derailments,” Jones said of possible terrorist operations. “What will people do if their cell phones don’t work? People will freak out. They can’t call anybody. We are not prepared for things like that.”
Jones noted that due to the porous southern border, some who would want to harm the United States are already among us, while noting the military and National Guard are not able to be activated on a moment’s notice.
“We are going to train with local police for terror attacks. We are going to be the Army, Marines, Air Force and National Guard,” Jones said. “We have to train people to be better prepared for terror attacks. Police were trained to keep local communities safe. You don’t think you were going to be attacked by terrorists.
“We have to train as though the military is not coming to help us. The National Guard is not coming to help us. Everybody is on their own. I want the public to know you are in a terrible spot right now. Pay attention to what you see, where you see it, watch people. There are people here who don’t like us.”
Answering a question about whether he might be encouraging discrimination and profiling of foreigners by demanding closed borders, acting as “Doomsday Jones,” the sheriff dismissed that narrative.
“You don’t have to believe me at all. You don’t have to be trained in firearms. When we call you, you can go hide in your basement. Build a safe room. Good luck to you. I give you the information. If you don’t like what I say, don’t vote for me. Fire me. Don’t elect me. But I’ve been elected five times. I am concerned with my country and the people who are here legally.”