By CBS3 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — One day ahead of the inauguration, Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with New Jersey’s director of homeland security and preparedness about extremism. That is something he calls a top-tier terror threat.

Just across the street from the statehouse in Trenton, Success Salon says they’ll be open on Wednesday after closing Sunday for threats on state capitals across the nation. But other local businesses aren’t taking any chances.

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We’re adding resources and we’re continuing to do that through tomorrow and this week,” said Jared Maples, the Director of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

It’s a posture reiterated by New Jersey’s director of homeland security who says while there are no known credible threats they’re taking all chatter seriously.

There’s a narrative out there among those extremist groups that they should do some violent act,” Maples said.

Maples says New Jersey, one of the most densely-populated and diverse states, is ripe for extremism.

“We actually elevated white supremacy up to a top-tier terror threat. We’re the first state in the United States to do that,” he said.

Maples is not mincing words about this inside danger.

“I think it’s important that we label it what it is. When we talk about white supremacists, we view them as a terror threat in New Jersey, we view anti-government and anarchists as terror threats,” he said.

Before being nominated by Gov. Chris Christie four years ago, Maples worked in war zones for much of his early career.

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“I saw overthrows, I saw overruns of capitals and government buildings. I never thought when I took this job that I would have to report to the governor that the U.S. Capitol had been overrun,” he said.

It’s something he’s working hard to prevent in his state come Wednesday

We are as prepared as we can be for sure,” said Maples.  

Residents also have a role to play. The state’s “see something, say something” tip line is often a critical first step in identifying extremist behavior.

The number to call to report suspicious behavior or threats is 1-866-4SAFE-NJ.

CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.


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