WASHINGTON–Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today launched the first phase of DHS’ nationwide “See Something, Say Something” campaign and announced a new national information-sharing partnership with Amtrak as part of the Department’s nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) initiative during a whistlestop train tour—highlighting the public’s role in keeping our country safe and the Obama administration’s commitment to bolstering surface transportation security.
“Implementing a national suspicious activity reporting partnership with Amtrak and expanding the ‘See Something, Say Something,’ campaign strengthens our ability to guard against terrorism and crime,” said Secretary Napolitano. “These initiatives enable us to provide frontline security personnel with the latest information and intelligence to recognize behaviors and indicators associated with new and evolving threats.”
Today’s announcements came during a multi-stop train tour through New York City, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and Washington. Secretary Napolitano was joined by Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor as well as law enforcement leaders and elected officials. Secretary Napolitano also swore in John Pistole, former Deputy Director of the FBI, as TSA Administrator in a ceremony at New York City’s Penn Station. He then joined for the remainder of the tour.
The “See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program—is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
In the coming months, DHS will expand the “See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to continue engaging travelers, businesses, community organizations, and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping our country safe.
The “See Something, Say Something” campaign complements the national SAR initiative—a partnership among federal, state, and local law enforcement to establish a standard process for law enforcement to identify and report suspicious incidents or activity and share that information nationally so it can be analyzed to identify broader trends.
The SAR initiative announced today is a new national information-sharing partnership with Amtrak in which DHS and the Department of Justice (DOJ) work with Amtrak to utilize the latest intelligence in law enforcement trainings on how to identify suspicious behaviors associated with new and evolving threats. Amtrak officers will also utilize an upgraded reporting system—made available by the Transportation Security Administration—to refer suspicious activity reports to DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for analysis and follow-up.
“The Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative establishes a unified approach at all levels of government to gather, document, process, analyze, and most importantly share information about terrorism-related suspicious activities,” said Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor. “The Amtrak Police Department is pleased to become a part of this network of law enforcement agencies and we look forward to working closely with federal, state and local authorities.”
DHS will continue to work with Amtrak and DOJ to expand the Amtrak SAR effort to regional railways, freight rail carriers and other mass transit agencies.
The SAR initiative and “See Something, Say Something” campaign are designed to generate thorough and responsible reports of suspicious activities and behaviors. The reporting system does not and will not focus on the gender or ethnicity of individuals. The law enforcement personnel who receive and respond to these reports under the DOJ National SAR Initiative (NSI) are trained officers and analysts. The NSI program has rigorous privacy and civil liberties safeguards, including a requirement that privacy protections are met before access to information is granted, as well as multiple levels of independent review. Training for Amtrak personnel on how to report suspicious activity is consistent with NSI guidelines.