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BAMBERG, Germany - Community members will begin seeing information from a new safety campaign around the installation this month.

IWatch, an awareness campaign to ensure that community members have the knowledge of where and what to report in terms of suspicious activity, is going Army-wide in place of the Safe Neighborhood Awareness Program.

While SNAP was an Army initiative, iWatch is a nationwide program in the United States. It will require some adaptation to address the overseas installation Force Protection level of Bravo +. IWatch draws on the coordinated efforts of security organizations on a garrison and will begin implementation over the summer months.

Daniel Lalonde, U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg anti-terrorism officer, and Stanley E. Andrusczkiewicz, deputy director of the Directorate of Emergency Services, are partnering with post organizations and directorates to ensure the dissemination of material explaining and advising on community awareness.

"Eighty to 90 percent of the program is raising awareness levels," Andrusczkiewicz said.

The coordination of the DES, public affairs office, Anti-terrorism and Directorate for Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, as well as the support of the schools, Army Community Services, Child Youth and School Services and other post organizations to spread information, will play a large role in the success of the campaign

IWatch assumes many of the qualities SNAP implemented. "They are bringing it back and modernizing it," said Glenn Langhorn, DPTMS plans and operations specialist. "They don't so much call family members to get involved, but more to keep a watchful eye."

The program focuses attention on-post as well as off.

"IWatch is bringing awareness up to date with the current events that have occurred," Andrusczkiewicz said. "A lot of things have changed since Fort Hood. We've been totally focused on the external and not on the internal."

As most Army personnel and Families are aware, on Nov. 5, 2009, Maj. Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist stationed at Fort Hood, opened fire on the installation and is accused of killing 13 people. This and similar criminal activities in the past years have caused safety and law enforcement personnel to adapt the way they train and combat an assault by an "active shooter."

An "active shooter," as defined on the Army's Antiterrosim Enterprise Portal, is an armed person who uses deadly force on other people and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims.

Andrusczkiewicz used the metaphor of a clam to describe the focus of installation security previous to the Fort Hood shooting - a hard impenetrable exterior with a completely soft interior.

Through iWatch, officials hope to adjust that focus among community members.

"The direct result is us being aware of our own vulnerabilities on the inside," Andrusczkiewicz said. "So people don't only look outside the gate."

The definition of suspicious activity, as delivered by iWatch, was developed in the SNAP program to open people's eyes to any irregularity in the scene around them.

"It is raising the awareness of what to look for and who to call," Andrusczkiewicz said. "The average family member should have situational awareness. Pay attention to what's normally not there; unusual vehicles without license plates, people or vehicles outside the fence, packages. When you're walking over to your neighbor's and you see someone with a camera."

People living off post can also benefit from iWatch. Although the German police have authority over off-post housing, community members can still use the military police to report suspicious activity. MPs can then use their language assistants to submit a report to the German authorities.

The roles of security agencies on post will not change but adapt to include aspects of the iWatch program, namely the dissemination, reception and investigation of information, into their daily procedures.

"DES will be the collection point because people always call the MPs when they see something suspicious," Lalonde said. "DES is primarily responsible for receiving those messages.

"We will funnel information through the units, TUCC (Tenant Unit Commanders Conference), town hall and FRGs (Family Readiness Groups)," Andrusczkiewicz said.

He said he also hopes to coordinate with the housing office to further the output of information to newcomers.

Langhorn said he is confident in the awareness of those living on Warner Barracks.

"The community is pretty good as it is," he said. "This teaches them how to act [when suspicious activity is noticed]."

"For a relatively low investment of time and effort, you can get great dividends," he said. "If we get four or five tips and one pays off then...you could potentially save a lot of lives and property."

Aug. 1 is the official kick-off date, but community members should begin to see iWatch materials before then.

Post common areas, such as the Postal Service Center, schools, stairwell buildings and other high traffic areas will soon don posters with awareness tips and advice, as well as the appropriate contact information for reporting suspicious activity.

For more information and resources for installations, Army Knowledge Online account holders can visit <a href="https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/605757">the Army's Antiterrorism Enterprise Portal at https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/605757.</a> To report a threatening occurrence, call the Military Police at 0951-300-8700.

Page last updated Thu May 20th, 2010 at 05:27