What's next? Grant expires for First Observer program

By Sandi Soendker, Land Line editor-in-chief | 12/10/2012

Affiliates and members of a national safety and security program that uses the skills of truckers as infrastructure watchdogs were notified last week that the grant that funded First Observer for more than four years expired at the end of November. However, that doesn’t mean the demise of the program.

“The program will go on, but will be a surface transportation security program as opposed to a trucking security program,” said OOIDA Director of Security Operations Doug Morris. “The program has been an award-winning program and has been so successful that it’s my understanding TSA wants to expand it to all modes of surface transportation.”

Morris said the FEMA grant that funded the program expired Nov. 30 and the contract will now be bid out.

“In four to six weeks, we should know who has the contract that will move this program forward,” Morris said.

First Observer used skills, experiences and savvy of America’s trucking professionals to help protect the critical transportation infrastructure.

The program was operated by the Transportation Security Administration, in cooperation with Team HMS, of which OOIDA was a partner.  

HMS President Charles Hall said effective Dec. 1, the calls to the hotline should be made to 877-847-5510. Hall said effective Dec. 7, the program website as well as the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center website were no longer accessible.

HMS Co. has administered the program since September 2008.

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