Ohio terror arrest has local police on alert for 4th of July

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While there have been relatively few successful attacks at large gatherings since 9/11, local police say the arrest in Cleveland of a man who expressed interest in wanting to wage an attack on a July 4th celebration, resonates.

"We have a strategic plan that is constantly updated whenever something happens in another part of the world or country," said Yolanda Fernandez of the St. Petersburg Police Department. "We use those lessons and we share."

Celebrations are planned for Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Lakeland.

"We have to look at things that happened two years ago. We have to look at things that happened two weeks ago," said Steve Hegarty of the Tampa Police Department. "We have to look at things that haven't even happened yet."

St. Pete Police are getting ready for big groups along Beach Dr. and say most of their 550 officers will be on duty, in uniform and plainclothes.

"If we should receive anything, even if it is not specific, if it seems like a threat, it is thoroughly checked out," said Fernandez.

July 4th is a challenge to police because there are seldom contained areas.

"It is not like going into a stadium, where they can check your bag and all of that," said Hegarty. "There is going to be people on Bayshore, the Riverwalk, Harbour Island, Davis Islands, they will be all over the place watching a great fireworks show, so we have to be everywhere as well."

The most visible part of July 4th is what brings the most 911 calls of the year. 

Police have to be proactive and reactive.

"People hear firecrackers and fireworks, they think they're gunshots, sometimes they are just complaining their neighbor is making too much noise," said Fernandez. "We get there, everything has been put away, all night long we are chasing these sorts of things."

Police also watch social media very closely for any possible threats or plans for large gatherings that could be unsafe