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* News Release *
 
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
For Immediate Release

BCEO EMPLOYEES PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL ANTI-TERROR TRAINING
First Observer Program

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens reports that BCEO road crews and construction inspection employees took part today in a national anti-terror training program called First Observer. Operated under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trucking Security Program (TSP), First Observer is a national safety and security program that enlists the skills and experiences of America's transportation professionals to observe, assess, and report incidents, circumstances, and suspicious activities that might intrude on the safety of the United States, according to program presenter Captain Ray Brown, Master Trainer with Total Security Services International, Inc.

"Today's was only the second presentation of the program in the country as it is being modified and tweaked," said co-presenter Utah Bailey of the Butler County Sheriff's Office. "We appreciate the Engineer's Office allowing us to present the program and solicit feedback before it actually goes national."

BCEO road crews also participated in an earlier version of the anti-terror training three years ago when it was known as Highway Watch. The new First Observer program is similar but has been updated based on current security trends and to include more inter- and intra-city buses. BCEO crews were chosen since they spend the majority of their work time in the field -- on the roads, at construction sites, and close to our roadway infrastructure. They are now officially certified First Observers -- certified to call a special hotline and report possible terrorist activity.

First Observer Mission

The mission of First Observer 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 "first observers" in reporting suspicious activities of either a criminal or potential terrorist nature to authorities.

"This program and earlier versions of it have had success in disrupting terrorist plans inside the United States," said Captain Brown. "Common people that we've trained have picked up on terrorist casing and surveillance, and notification has led to a disruption of these activities."

To learn more about First Observer, please visit the program's web site at www.FirstObserver.com.

# # #

For more information contact:

Chris Petrocy, BCEO Public Information Supervisor
Greg Wilkens, P.E., P.S., Butler County Engineer
Phone 513.867.5744 • Fax 513.867.5849


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