As we debate the situations in Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York, I hope that law enforcement is keeping an eye on the calendar as September approaches.

ISIS has made it plain that they plan to fly their flag over the White House and that we will be wading through blood of their victims here in the USA. Terrorists love anniversaries and September 11 is looming ever closer. They like to strike on anniversaries. Witness the Benghazi attacks 9/11.

We always ask the public to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police. Without more to go on, police officers don’t see anything out of the ordinary.  LEOs probably don’t leave any reports although the dispatch center has some record of a patrol unit responding to a location.

Believe me this is no easy task. I was a police officer in the Jersey City PD when the World Trade Center was attacked in 1993 with the truck bomb, then again in 2001 on 9/11 in that devastating attack. The terrorist cell that was responsible for the 1993 attack came from Jersey City.

Many in my department knew those individuals. They seemed harmless and didn’t stick out screaming “I’m a terrorist.” There was nothing that they did to bring them to the attention of law enforcement or any concerned citizen.

Yet, they were able to hatch an attack on the WTC. They were able to purchase the ingredients for the bomb to be used and constructed those bombs. They rented a truck big enough to house the bombs and none of this raised any awareness.

They stored enough bomb making material in the Mallory Avenue storage facility to amount to 3 bombs the size of the one that was triggered in 1993. There were safe houses and bomb making factories throughout NJ and NY and no one saw anything suspicious.

In fact, had the terrorists just boarded a plane for the Middle East, they would have escaped with no detection. Instead they made the mistake of a lifetime. They stayed in Jersey City and went to the rental agency to retrieve their deposit on the truck they just blew up.

Unknown to them, the forensic remains of the truck and VIN number gave the ATF and FBI the make of truck and who last owned it. The terrorists walked right into the trap set for them. The case then built quickly on the evidence subsequently recovered.

At no time in 1993 was it a matter of connecting the dots as it was in 2001. There were no dots until evidence gave us those dots. But at no time could any reporting of suspicious activity have helped authorities stop this attack.

Such is the nature and characteristics of terror cells. Otherwise known as sleeper cells, they remain dormant until they are activated by some means. Since the US was hit by these cells in 1993 and in 2001, there is a distinct possibility it could happen again.

Disturbing images from Ferguson included a sign saying ISIS here. Other news of Mexican drug cartels and ISIS meeting are equally disturbing. With our flimsy borders and not having any idea who is entering the country, mixed in with the illegal aliens there is a distinct chance ISIS is already in this country waiting to strike.

Law enforcement is pretty much saturated with the duties have to deal with.   Add Ferguson and Staten Island and LEOs would be hard pressed to give due diligence to a report of suspicious activity.

Under the present circumstances, this could prove fatal on a large scale. Remember what they did to this country 9/11/2001. It may just happen right under our noses while we’re dealing with other immediate matters.

On August 24, all law enforcement agencies were warned of impending ISIS attack. Be very aware of anything unusual. Try to document anything reported or suspected by a concerned citizen. Treat suspicious packages as explosive devices. Anything small could actually be the key to the puzzle of when, and if, ISIS will attack. Be alert and stay alive.

Captain Robert Cubby served for 38 years with the Jersey City Police Department. A PTSD survivor, he has been involved in PTSD issues with the CISM team.  A prolific author, Captain Cubby focuses on writing about his experiences and solving police problems. He is a National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) instructor about police matters and a frequent conference speaker.