Officials focus on community involvement during Antiterrorism Awareness Month
July 26, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Ahead of the Army's third annual Antiterrorism Awareness Month that begins next week, one of Fort Drum's top antiterrorism officials took time to assure community members of ongoing security, training and safety measures on post that are aimed at counteracting terrorist attacks.
Bill Ladd, installation antiterrorism officer, also asked for the community's continued vigilance in their unofficial role as the installation's eyes and ears.
"We don't want to put fear into the community," Ladd said. "We want to make (people) aware of their individual surroundings.
"If you see something, say something," he added. "Be aware of your surroundings."
Antiterrorism Awareness Month, which occurs every August to precede the anniversary of 9/11, ensures the entire Army community is involved, reminding members that the threat is real and that the need for vigilance is vital, Ladd said.
"The best way that the community can help us is if they see something out of place, report it," he said. "Let the professionals decide what to do and whether it is a threat or not."
The slogan, "If you see something, say something," is a part of the neighborhood terror-watch program called iWATCH ARMY.
Adopted by the Army several years ago, the original iWATCH program was developed by the Los Angeles Police Department with the input of civil rights groups.
Billed as the "21st century version of Neighborhood Watch," iWATCH was quickly endorsed by police chiefs from dozens of the largest cities across North America.
In the Army, the iWATCH program is designed to heighten public awareness about indicators of terrorist activity and to encourage reporting of suspicious behavior or activity.
Tidbits reported to 774-8477 (TIPS) may reveal a piece of a puzzle that leads Fort Drum authorities to thwart a terrorist plot.
To assist community members in discerning red flags, the Security and Intelligence Division on post plans special antiterrorism awareness training sessions in August.
The four special sessions, which will satisfy the annual training requirements for antiterrorism as well as Threat Awareness and Reporting Program (TARP), will take place at the Multipurpose Auditorium from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m. and from 1 to 3:15 p.m. Aug. 8 and 29.
With the iWATCH program such a major focus this year, Ladd said the important special training can help community members spotlight potential red-flag indicators not visible to law enforcement.
He pointed out the suspect in last week's movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. Lone gunmen who plan mass murders are difficult for law enforcement officials to spot, Ladd said, which is why they need the community's help.
"When you think about Aurora, Colo., someone observed that guy and didn't say anything," Ladd said of the alleged gunman. "Someone knew that here's a guy who never bought a gun before, and suddenly he's buying guns.
"There are indicators that pop up, and that's what we will talk about during this special training," he said.
In addition to involving the community, Ladd said effective antiterrorism measures integrate multiple security programs, such as policing, threat information sharing, physical security and operations security.
One physical security measure will take place at Fort Drum in a few weeks, Ladd noted, when officials plan to exercise the installation's "barrier plan."
"Part of the antiterrorism program is exercising random antiterrorism measures, one of which is the barrier plan, which is designed to increase force protection conditions," Ladd explained.
On Aug. 20, Directorate of Emergency Services personnel will launch its barrier plan at all gates.
Two teams of safety, security and antiterrorism officials will work with Public Works personnel to simultaneously execute the barrier plan at separate gates, ensuring the right barriers are used, forklift operators know their mission, traffic can safely serpentine and the exercise runs smoothly.
Teams will move from one gate to the next until each one is operational in accordance with the barrier plan.
Once completed, teams will work in reverse order to remove barriers at each gate and reset normal traffic patterns.
The exercise is expected to be completed by early afternoon.
For additional information, or to obtain antiterrorism-related publications and handouts, call Ladd at 772-8975.