With the approach of Christmas week, trucking professionals are in a unique position to help federal, states and local government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials prevent attacks against the U.S.
OOIDA’s Director of Security Operations, Doug Morris, says truckers should be alert for suspicious activity and immediately report it.
“During this holiday season we ask people to be more vigilant than ever,” says Morris. “We collectively need to remain on guard. Terrorism activity comes in many forms, so be aware.”
Veteran drivers are attuned to recognizing suspicious behavior and activities as they relate to personal security. Many of those same threat indicators may also apply to the nation’s overall security. Morris advises truckers to look for suspicious, unusual behavior and activity that appears to be unusual.
“Gut feelings are sometimes accurate. Observe your surroundings. Does something appear out of place? Use your knowledge, judgment and experience to assess activity that appears out of place.”
Morris cited a recent incident where a suicide bomber blew himself up on a congested pedestrian street in Stockholm, Sweden, killing himself and injuring others. Similar bombing attempts have been thwarted in Oregon and Maryland. Subsequent to these incidents al-Qaida leaders have made both public and private statements that more incidents would be forthcoming this year and during the 2010 holiday season.
“Historically, terrorists target religious and cultural activities, heavily populated retail centers, public transportation systems, and anywhere a large gathering may take place,” says Morris. “They generally utilize vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices as well as suicide bombers. Intelligence experts have referenced incidents similar to the terror attacks in Mumbai, where weapons and explosives were utilized.”
Morris advises truckers to report suspicious actions immediately to your local police or call the First Observer program at 888-217-5902. First Observer is a highway security program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and administered by the Transportation Security Administration. It’s operated under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Homeland Security.
OOIDA is a partner in the program.
Morris suggests truckers take the First Observer training program at www.firstobserver.com.