ST. PAUL — A newly wrapped Metro Transit bus and light-rail train are now moving through the metro area carrying a safety message from the Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM). HSEM, Metro Transit and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are partnering to make sure the message is not only seen but understood.
“Every citizen has a chance every day to keep his or her community safer,” says William Chandler, Homeland Security Branch Director for HSEM. “The “If You See Something, Say Something ™” campaign reminds citizens to call their local authorities or 9-1-1 if they see something suspicious.”
Chandler says authorities across Minnesota are now trained to forward suspicious activity reports to a statewide system so homeland security experts can determine the right course of action and spot trends.
The Metro Transit bus and light-rail train will remain wrapped in the “If You See Something, Say Something ™”campaign advertisement for several months. There are also informational posters in kiosks at stations along the Hiawatha Line and advertisements throughout the interiors of Metro Transit’s fleet of nearly 900 buses.
“Customers board Metro Transit buses and trains more than 250,000 times each day in Minnesota’s busiest places,” said Acting Metro Transit Police Chief A.J. Olson. “This effective, commonsense message raises public safety awareness among transit customers and others alike.”
The “If You See Something, Say Something Campaign ™” has proven to be effective ever since its creation by the New York Transportation Authority and the nationwide distribution by DHS in 2010.
Some examples of the campaign’s success include:
- In New York, a t-shirt vendor in Times Square saw a suspicious vehicle and alerted the police. Authorities found a bomb in the vehicle.
- In Seattle, Washington someone saw an abandoned backpack along a parade route and called authorities. The backpack contained a device that, if detonated, would have caused harm.
- In Killeen, Texas a gun shop owner alerted police after a customer purchased ammunition and asked a lot of troubling questions. Police soon apprehended the man who authorities say was planning another Fort Hood-like attack.
The project is jointly funded by Metro Transit and the Homeland Security Grant Program. That program provides federal money to HSEM which passes 80 percent through to local jurisdictions like Metro Transit.
“Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “The ‘If You See Something, Say Something™’ message on buses, trains, and kiosks will encourage citizens living or traveling in the Minneapolis metro area to identify and report indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime to law enforcement authorities."
About Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM)
The Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) helps Minnesota prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies and disasters.
- Activation of the state Emergency Operations Center in June 2012 to respond to flash floods in the northeast region of the state.
- HSEM staff members are helping Minnesota communities recover from one federally declared disaster in 2012 and six major disasters in 2010-2011
- In FY 2011, HSEM awarded 943 Homeland Security grants totaling $162 million to 300 local governments and other entities to prepare them to handle all hazards including terrorism.