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If You See Something, Say Something

May 4, 2011

I noticed this link on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Facebook page:

HSEM fans- In light of national and international news we encourage people to call 911 to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement. See Something Say Something,

That link takes you to a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Counterterrorism page on Reporting Incidents:

In July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), at Secretary Janet Napolitano’s direction, launched a national “If You See Something, Say Something™” public awareness campaign –a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities. The campaign was originally used by New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which has licensed the use of the slogan to DHS for anti-terrorism and anti-crime efforts….

Both the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign and the NSI [Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative ] underscore the concept that homeland security begins with  hometown security, where an alert public plays a critical role in keeping our nation safe.

There’s a neat little movie there you can watch there.

Now, we’re all taught from an early age not to be “snitches”, to not get caught up in other people’s drama.  As a model train fan, for example, I’m particularly peeved at some of the heavy-handed measures against railfans—the guy in the hoodie in the DHS video could just be modeling subway ops (or not).  A little healthy skepticism of authority can be a good thing.  And we don’t want to profile people just because they look different or dress different or talk different.  However….

What if somebody at a flight school had spoken up about a few “out of the ordinary” new students before 9/11?  Its a difficult balance between Big Brother and Uncle Sam.  The time to talk about that balance is now, not during an event.  No better time than the present.  Thoughtful discussions during mitigation planning can help establish policies and procedures so we know what works in our own communities to prevent domestic terrorism and civil unrest before it happens.


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  1. If You See, Say | JC

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