Why is it important for CVTA member schools to train their students to become a First Observer™'? The terrorism threat to America is real. Here is an example of terrorist activity over the last 45 days:
September 24, 2010 - Lebanese man in Chicago man was arrested and charged with an unusual terrorism plot; Sami Samir Hassoun was recorded by the FBI discussing plans to; poison Lake Michigan, bomb the Sears Tower building, and assassinate Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.
September 28, 2010 - US and European officials detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of commando-style terror attacks in Britain, France, Germany and possibly the United States similar to what happened in Mumbai India in 2008.
October 27, 2010 - A Pakistani-American is charged with plotting a terrorist attack near Washington DC. The attack would have targeted the capital's subway system and could have led to mass casualties.
October 29, 2010 - Two suspicious packages are found aboard a UPS plane that contained a massive amount of explosive material. The packages were sent from Yemen bound for Jewish organizations in the United States.
Next - ? Will we be able to thwart it?
"First Observer" is a national safety and security program that uses the skills, experiences and "savvy" of America's transportation professionals to help protect the critical transportation function that moves the goods and services and people across America.
"First Observer" is operated by Team HMS under a Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trucking Security Program (TSP). The program's mission is to administer an anti-terrorism and security awareness program for highway professionals in support of the National Preparedness Guidelines. A key component of the program is to recruit volunteers from the Trucking, Motor Coach Carriers and School Bus industries to act as our "First Observer" in reporting suspicious activities of either a criminal or potential terroristic nature to authorities.
The basic premise of the program points out the National security situation and importance of the trucking industry to the economy and the nation. It raises awareness among the drivers to be aware of environments in plain view, to observe, assess and report suspicious activities. It also illustrates good relationships among the drivers, the call center, law enforcement, and the analysis center. This program is intended for all road professionals, but primarily drivers.