City and county heighten awareness after letter scare - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City and county heighten awareness after letter scare

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Talcum powder was mailed to a criminal court judge at 201 Poplar in 2011. But the letter was initially treated as a serious threat.

"You always have to assume everything is dangerous until you prove that it's not," said Sergeant Chad Cunningham.

Cunningham serves on the Shelby County Sheriff's Office bomb squad.

"I'm a bomb technician," he said.

The squad works in tandem with the fire department in responding to potentially hazardous materials which are then taken to the health department for testing.

"The fire department actually shows up in all their hazardous gear to collect the sample and we just do the delivery," said Cunningham.

News of positively identified ricin in letters sent to elected officials this week put local leaders on heightened alert once again.

A poster went up on each floor of Memphis City Hall late Wednesday instructing employees on what to look for when handling the mail.

"Anytime something like this happens on a national scale, it gives us cause for alarm as well," said Shelby County spokesman Steve Shular.

County employees have been told to pay closer attention to every piece of correspondence.

"If anything looks out of place, anything looks suspicious, to contact law enforcement just as soon as possible," said Shular.

It's a call Sergeant Cunningham and is colleagues are always willing to take.

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