Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott has weighed in on the security of Bagnell Dam after the Camden County Sheriff's Office verified a report that they had forwarded a security tip regarding the hydroelectric facility to the FBI.

Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott has weighed in on the security of Bagnell Dam after the Camden County Sheriff’s Office verified a report that they had forwarded a security tip regarding the hydroelectric facility to the FBI.

According to Abbott, in whose jurisdiction the dam lies, they have been in contact with the St. Louis security office for the dam. The Miller County Sheriff’s Office is in daily contact with the dam’s security and other coordinating agencies, he said, but that is not unusual. Patrols of the dam are continuing as normal, said Abbott.

While there is always some risk due to the nature of the dam, he said, there is no reason to believe there is a more heightened risk than normal due to the recent report.

Earlier Wednesday morning, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office verified that it received a tip regarding a group of Middle Eastern men asking about Bagnell Dam and had forwarded the report to the FBI and a joint task force on terrorism. 

CCSD Cpl. Scott Hines cautioned that the report does not mean that there is any reason to be scared or panicked that an attack is planned at the Lake of the Ozarks. He did advise though that people should always be aware and alert as they go about their business.

According to Hines, a Camden County deputy was out to lunch in the area last week when a staff member of the restaurant relayed an incident that occurred a few days to a week prior to the deputy’s visit that the person thought was kind of weird. A group of Middle Eastern men were apparently asking about the dam and boat tours of the dam. The reporting person thought it was kind of odd, said Hines, but didn’t call to report it at the time, only mentioning it to the deputy when he happened to be at the restaurant.

When a deputy receives a tip like that, the department has a set way to handle it, notifying several groups, said Hines. They have talked to the FBI, he added, and the intelligence has been reported to the joint terrorism task force for Missouri hosted out of the US Attorney’s Office of Missouri and through the Missouri Department of Public Safety and the Highway Patrol, which has a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. The task force is a conglomeration of multiple law enforcement agencies that collectintelligence, allowing analysts to better look for links among raw data.

The Camden County Sheriff’s Office is not conducting an investigation, and things are business as for the local agency.

Bagnell Dam is a legitimate attraction of interest for visitors, and the Lake of the Ozarks sees tourists from around the country and the world.

It is typical for police to see a spike in these types of reports when there is a mass shooting especially those believed to be linked to Islamic extremism, said Hines, referencing the San Bernardino, Calif. shooting.

It’s alright to report minor incidents that may just strike you as slightly off somehow and may not end up being anything, said Hines.

“We prefer to get a few calls than not be called and God forbid something does happen. If you do see or hear something that seems odd, call and let us know,” he commented.