By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterJune 24, 2016
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 24, 2016) -- In light of recent threats across the nation, most notably the recent attack in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 people dead in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, Fort Rucker officials want to remind people to stay vigilant.
When it comes to the safety and security of people on Fort Rucker, as well as across local communities and throughout the nation, law enforcement can only do so much, said Cory Greenawalt, the Fort Rucker Training and Doctrine Command antiterrorism officer.
"Due to recent events -- attacks in Belgium; Paris; San Bernardino, California; and Orlando -- the 'See Something, Say Something' campaign is being resonated throughout country by federal and local authorities," he said. "Gathered information from these investigations are showing that there were signs of preparations (for attacks) seen by the public, but never reported. Law enforcement agencies at all levels are emphasizing the 'See Something, Say Something' mantra that could be the difference in lives saved."
That's where iWATCH Army comes in, which is an antiterrorism program that's focuses on encouraging Army-wide community awareness and outreach efforts to address important topics related to protecting communities, not just from terrorist acts, but all crime, said Greenawalt.
"It's a community program to help your neighborhood stay safe from terrorist activities and crime," he said, adding that the program is a platform for people and their fellow Army community members to report behaviors and activities that seem out of the ordinary or make them feel uncomfortable.
To access the iWATCH Army website, people can visit: www.myarmyonesource.com/familyprogramsandservices/iwatchprogram/default.aspx.
Greenawalt said people should make this a topic of conversation between their loved ones and friends to remain vigilant because it's up to everyone, not just law enforcement, to keep their communities safe.
"Parents need to talk to their children about this," he said. "Although school is out, there are plenty of summertime activities that go on throughout the installation, so people need to watch out for suspicious behavior everywhere," adding that parents should visit the iWATCH website for more information that they can share with their children.
There are a number of different reasons to report suspicious activity, but Greenawalt said that keeping the installation safe is first and foremost. People's awareness is at the forefront of defense that can help predict and prevent attacks before they happen.
"Our law enforcement is the reactionary force to reported activities, but they need more eyes and ears out there to help them -- every person is a sensor," said the antiterrorism officer. "Authorities can't be everywhere at once.
"We are here to protect our country and our neighborhoods," Greenawalt continued. "We're the frontline of defense and then we call the proper authorities to take care of the issue. We see it, we report it, and we get the experts and the professionals to deal with it. That is how we protect ourselves."
Some things Greenawalt suggests people look out for include: people drawing or measuring important buildings; strangers asking questions about security forces or security procedures; briefcases, suitcases, backpacks or any packages left unattended; cars or trucks left in no-parking zones in front of important buildings; intruders in secure areas; persons wearing clothes that are too big or bulky, or too hot for the weather; and even chemical smells or fumes that don't seem right.
"Trust your instincts," said the antiterrorism officer. "We rely on our senses every day of our lives. If a behavior or activity makes you feel uncomfortable, report it."
When people report an incident, they should try to give as many details as possible. Greenawalt provided a checklist that people can use to make sure they get the necessary information: date and time; where it happened; what they witnessed; description of people involved including gender, height, build, ethnicity, hair color and age; and license plate numbers if available.
Greenawalt also advises people not to get directly involved unless there is an immediate threat or if it's the only action available, and for them to allow the proper authorities to handle the situation.
He also advises that people share information regarding iWATCH Army to everyone they know.
"Everyone needs to get this kind of information out to their neighbors," said Greenawalt. "This is not the kind of information that should be kept to themselves, but shared with the world. We strongly encourage people to share this information with each other so that they know what to do if they see something out of the ordinary."
Greenawalt also stressed that 911 should only be called for emergency situations, but people can call the non-emergency line at 255-2222 to report any suspicious activities.