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Downtown LA Drill To Feature Random Bag Checks At Union Station

LOS ANGELES ( — Over 1,300 law enforcement and homeland security personnel participated in a counter-terrorism drill in downtown Los Angeles.

Operation Independence is a two-day, high-visibility training exercise that is "all about keeping L.A. safe," according to Nicole Nishida of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's deputies - accompanied by explosive-sniffing dogs - will have a more visible presence at Union Station to perform random bag inspections, according to Nishida.

Transportation Security Administration personnel were also seen participating in the drill.

Chief Ted Sexton, who commands the L.A. County Sheriff's Homeland Security division, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the exercise will take into consideration the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April that left 3 people dead and injuring 264 others.

"We learned lessons after Boston, we're also heightening a sense of awareness not only for all law enforcement officers, but for the public in general, that if they see something, say something," Sexton said.

Holidays are always a high-profile time for terrorism, Sexton added, but there were no substantiated or credible threats ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

The drill comes nearly a month after a team of LAPD officers from the Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau held their own counter-terrorism exercise near the same downtown location in June.

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