Office of Homeland Security
Eyes & Ears on KY op-ed
Are you an alert, vigilant citizen?
Are you aware of your surroundings? Do you really see or hear what is going on around you?
If a vehicle is parked during unusual hours or for extended periods, do you notice? If someone is spending an inordinate amount of time observing, photographing, or sketching a facility or some other “critical infrastructure,” are you cognizant of that activity? When strangers exhibit extraordinary nervousness and other atypical mannerisms at an event, are you concerned?
And finally, when something “just does not seem right” to you--especially based on common sense, good judgment, and experience--what do you do?
Alert citizens in recent years have done the following:
· An Internal Revenue Service employee noticed a plastic drum in the parking lot of the IRS building in Reno, Nev., and notified authorities. The drum was found to be packed with ammonium nitrate and fuel.
· A road crew in Oklahoma found a suspicious package and called law enforcement. A bomb squad was dispatched, detonated the package, and determined it did contain explosives.
· A worker at a cosmetics warehouse in Colorado called law enforcement when he thought it suspicious that a person purchased large quantities of beauty-supply chemicals. The suspect was arrested and is alleged to be the mastermind of plotting a bomb attack in New York City.
· A pair of hunters in Tennessee found C-4 plastic explosives in a field and contacted authorities. A Fort Campbell soldier was arrested and charged with knowingly receiving and possessing firearms.
· A jogger during his morning run thought it was odd to find a traffic cone with plastic flowers sticking out of the top in front of an elementary school. He called law enforcement. Bomb technicians discovered an explosive device inside the cone primed to detonate if someone picked a flower.
Now what would you do if you encountered similar situations in Kentucky?
You can call Eyes & Ears on Kentucky, an anonymous telephone tip line enabling anyone to report suspicious activity or items that might reasonably pose a threat to individuals, a community or the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Eyes & Ears number, which goes directly to the Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center, is 1-866-393-6659. The Fusion Center, administered by the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security, is a collaborative effort of various federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies.
When someone calls the Fusion Center, information is sent to an appropriate law enforcement agency, or because of details provided, to a homeland security intelligence specialist for quick analysis and subsequent determination.
This tip line is a way Kentuckians can help prevent or reduce prospects of terrorism, ordinary crimes and other illegal acts.
It is important to provide accurate information when using the Eyes & Ears tip line, such as reporting exactly what you’ve observed that concerns you and why; the location and time of your observance; descriptions of all individuals involved; and a description of the peculiar or hazardous object.
This program also holds personal liberties and privacy in highest esteem. The intent and purpose is improving vigilance and alertness by responsible citizens in reporting suspicious activity that could threaten community safety and security. This can be achieved through awareness, conscientious reporting to law enforcement and respect for the Constitutional rights of others.
Although law enforcement, military and intelligence agencies have been successful in preventing numerous deadly plots from terrorists since 9/11, it is essential for citizens to become more vigilant in helping to foil future attacks.
Helping protect our state is a primary mission of the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. So if you see or hear suspicious activity, remember Eyes & Ears on Kentucky and report it by calling 1-866-393-6659.
And by the way, the program is working! Suspicious activities and items have been discovered, reported and through joint efforts, resolved for the security and safety of person and property in Kentucky.
If your organization would like Eyes & Ears on Kentucky literature or a speaker, contact Michael.Embry@ky.gov or Pat.Gill@ky.gov or call 502.564.2081.