LOS ANGELES – For several years, the preferred method of terrorist attack in Israel, Iraq and Sri Lanka has been suicide bombing (search). Fortunately, such acts of violence have not struck the United States, but some officials say they eventually will.
"It's the preferred mode, method of operation for Al Qaeda and other terrorist people around the world, so I think it's just a matter of time," said Detective Ralph Morten of the Los Angeles Police Department (search) bomb squad. "I think we all know that it's coming."
Morten is part of one of the first counter-terrorism units in the country. His unit trains local police officers and firefighters on how to spot suicide bombers before they strike.
Not only is he working to secure the safety of Los Angeles, but he has also helped prepare U.S. Marines before they deployed to Iraq.
The LAPD and several other U.S. agencies have studied Israel's methods of identifying suspicious suspects and vehicles.
"A great deal of disguises are used: pregnant women, police, military security uniforms, disguised as surfers, disguised as musicians wearing guitars," said Morten.
While profiling is typically discouraged in the U.S., police say recognizing nervousness or inconsistent characteristics could mean saving lives.
"We don't have a tradition of automatically profiling people in the street by the way they look, or the way they behave, but this is something that can be taught," said Dr. Ariel Cohen (search), a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation (search).
"The reality is, we live in a world where people are intent on killing other people to spread their message," said Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton (search).
With today's technology, anyone could become a martyr for his or her cause. Al Qaeda has released an instructional video on the Internet which outlines how to make suicide bombing belts at home. The measures being taken by LAPD may not be paranoia, but simply preparation.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' William La Jeunesse.