Better safe than sorry - FOX 13 News

Better safe than sorry

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

There's a new reality for police departments across the country: more citizens calling to report suspicious objects.

Tuesday, Tampa police shut down several blocks along South Dale Mabry Highway when someone called in to report an unattended package.

It turned out to be garbage.

At another call, to Fifth Third Bank in downtown Tampa, police found nothing.

It's an abundance of caution in the wake of the tragedy in Boston.

"Because of the sensitivity in Boston, we are getting more calls. We want those calls. We'd much rather get the calls and go and check it out than to have a scenario where someone gets hurt," said Tampa Police spokesperson Laura McElroy.

Law enforcement agencies across the region gathered at Raymond James Stadium Tuesday for a training exercise with dozens of canine units -- bomb-sniffing dogs crucial to these calls.

"Really, I think at this point throughout the nation I think we should all have access to detection canines," said Sgt. Jerry Patrick with the Tampa Police Department.

With big events, like the RNC, Super Bowl and presidential visits, cities like Tampa depend on these K-9 units.

"Oh they're crucial. To search a building the size of Raymond James Stadium, would just take us days. The manpower and the time would almost make it impossible," Sgt. Patrick said.

False alarm or not, after what happened in Boston, officers say if you see something suspicious, it's more important than ever to say something.

"If you see something that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, call the police. Call 911. Let us determine if it's truly a threat, because worst-case scenario, somebody doesn't report it and next thing you know, we have people injured and even worse." McElroy said.

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