In the aftermath of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Illinois State Police is asking the public
to be on the lookout for suspicious trucks. Record numbers of trucks in the
state already are being stopped and inspected.
Though state police doubled
the number of truck inspections during the month after the attacks, officials
say they could use more help. "Since Sept. 11 we've been going out and
stopping more trucks," Sgt. David Beasley, supervisor of the commercial
vehicles unit for the state police, told Illinois House members last week.
"But unless someone tells us about something unusual happening, chances
are that it could sneak through."
During September, state
police reportedly inspected 516 trucks in northern Illinois, double the normal
number of monthly inspections. Statewide, about 1,000 trucks were inspected.
Aside from sheer numbers,
Beasley said frequent alerts from federal authorities in recent weeks about
suspicious trucks sometimes have made it difficult for the state police to
respond. "The alerts we're getting are very generic," he said. "That's
why we want to know if the public sees something unusual like a truck going
up and down a street that they never saw go up and down the street before.
They need to contact us."