A press event is being held at Union Station this morning to promote the Transportation Security Administration’s new safety awareness program for the holiday travel season. Among the speakers will be Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Sheriff Lee Baca. Here is the TSA’s press release:
LOS ANGELES — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Los Angeles World Airports and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority today announced the expansion of the nationwide “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign at historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, to raise public awareness and strengthen security in America in anticipation of the busy holiday travel season.
While at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), passengers may call 310-646-7911 to report suspicious activity and aboard Metro, call 877-A-THREAT. Passengers with no cellular signal while riding Metro may also use the emergency intercom inside the rail vehicle; use the emergency intercom in the station; notify the operator,; notify Sheriff’s Department or any Metro employee on the train, bus or at the station.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from Department of Homeland Security’s Transit Security Grant Program—is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
To improve local reporting of suspicious behaviors and activities, and not individuals, the campaign uses the Los Angeles Police Department’s iWATCH community reporting program. Information reported through iWATCH is kept confidential. It is carefully assessed and, if warranted, investigated by trained investigators. All information gathered and all investigative activity is subject to strict policies designed to protect people’s privacy and civil liberties.
“The partnerships we build in communities and with travelers are critical to supporting our security mission,” said TSA Administrator John Pistole. “We saw with the failed Times Square attack the impact alert travelers can have and we ask for the public’s continued partnership to help keep our skies safe.”
“While our local, state and federal authorities constantly work to prevent terrorist attacks, we all need to be vigilant and proactive to keep Los Angeles safe. Transit workers and riders will now be engaged in a 21st century neighborhood watch to be on the lookout for behavior or things that are out of the ordinary and report them to authorities. The iWATCH campaign will help us all keep each other safe,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“Metro is always focused on the well-being of our passengers and we need the public to take an active role in helping ensure the safety of the transit system here in Los Angeles County,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Don Knabe. “We urge all Los Angeles County residents to stay vigilant while riding Metro and to report any suspicious behavior. Working together, we will better protect our public transportation system so that everyone who takes Metro can enjoy the ride!”
“The Los Angeles Police Department is proud to partner with TSA and provide a way for the public to report suspicious behaviors and activities through iWATCH,” said LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore. “Incorporating iWATCH with the See Something, Say Something awareness campaign allows the traveling public to be a part of the solution and gives them a sense of purpose, knowing that a simple observation, a single report can lead to actions that may stop a terrorist attack.”
“Los Angeles World Airports and the TSA work closely to ensure the public’s safety at Los Angeles International, LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys airports,” said Los Angeles Airport Police Assistant Chief of Homeland Security & Intelligence Ethel McGuire. “The TSA’s ‘See Something, Say Something’ public awareness campaign reinforces our shared philosophy that an alert public can act as a partner with law enforcement and enhance our deterrence against terrorism.”
Since the beginning of the summer, DHS has worked with state and local officials to leverage best practices from the law enforcement community while engaging the public in identifying and reporting suspicious activity through the national Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative—an administration effort to train state and local law enforcement to recognize behaviors and indicators related to specific threats and terrorism-related crime—and the expansion of “If You See Something, Say Something” to communities throughout the country , launching new partnerships with organizations including Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority and the general aviation industry.
In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to engage America’s businesses, communities, and citizens to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the county safe.
For more information, visit www.dhs.gov.