Knowing the “7 Signs of Terrorism” and participating in the “If You See Something…Say Something” program were highlights of a training session for Newburgh-Beacon Bridge employees today.
Bridge Authority Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero, left, looks on as Greene County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Stegville notes the importance of Operation Safeguard and the “If You See Something, Say Something” training program. Photo contributed
The training is designed to raise awareness among all bridge personnel and includes tips on spotting suspicious activity and how to report it.
“As recent events have shown, the Hudson Valley is not immune from the acts of terrorists,” Bridge Authority Executive Director Joseph Ruggiero said. “We must be vigilant and the Bridge Authority will do its part.”
Counter Terrorism Zone 4 Chairman, Chief Robert W. Van Cura of the South Nyack-Grand View Police Department, said, “Training and public awareness are key elements of the Operation Safeguard program. Law enforcement agencies at all levels are working together to coordinate information. The northern suburbs are the gateway to New York City and there's no doubt that the city is a terrorist target. The public can play an important role by knowing the signs of terrorism and reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities.”
Counter Terrorism Zone 14 Chairman, Lt. John M. Stegville of the Greene County Sheriff's Office, said, “We are particularly pleased that the Bridge Authority is conducting this program at its smaller facilities such as the Rip Van Winkle and Kingston-Rhinecliff bridges. Training and awareness in more rural areas is a key element of counter-terrorism. Our residents tend to know when something is out of place and we encourage them to report anything suspicious.”
In a statement, Bridge Authority Chairman James P. Sproat said, “The five Mid-Hudson Region bridges that the Authority operates are vital lifelines for our communities and our livelihood. The Authority will continue to take prudent and responsible actions to protect its critical infrastructure and everything they stand for.”
The employees were told by NYS Police from the Counter-Terrorism Unit that the 7 signs of terrorism include:
- Surveillance of targets;
- Suspicious Questioning about operations and security;
- Tests of Security to measure reaction times;
- Acquiring Supplies;
- Suspicious Persons Out of Place;
- Trial Runs; and,
- Deploying Assets to commit an act of terrorism
Bridge employees and the general public can be especially helpful in spotting the early signs before the terrorist act is being implemented.
Any suspicious activity can be reported by calling 1-866-SAFE-NYS (1-866-723-3697).
The Bridge Authority will train all employees throughout its bridge system and will publicize the “If You See Something…Say Something” program to residents of the Hudson Valley.
The NYS Bridge Authority operates the Bear Mountain, Newburgh-Beacon, Mid-Hudson, Kingston-Rhinecliff and Rip Van Winkle bridges.
The Authority is funded from bridge tolls and receives no state or federal tax monies for bridge maintenance and operation.
The Authority holds the highest bond rating given to any public toll-transportation entity in the United States, reducing annual costs.
The $1 passenger vehicle toll for east-bound passage on all Authority bridges is among the lowest nationwide for self-supporting transportation agencies (there is no toll for west-bound passage). Tolls today are actually lower, in real dollars, than they were in 1933 when the Authority began operations.
The Authority's employee safety record has resulted in an “unusually high discount” from the state insurance fund, protecting workers and reducing costs.
Accidents on Authority bridges in 2009 were among the lowest in recent history, resulting in one accident for every 317,000 crossings.