The terrorist attack on October 31st serves as a painful reminder of how vulnerable we can be, but also of the great network of first responders, eager volunteers, calm leaders, and concerned citizens who refuse to give into fear and hate. To help in counterterrorism efforts the NYPD has a wonderful program called NYPD SHIELD.
NYPD Shield is a joint program between the NYPD and the private sector to share information. The concept is that, with training, the private sector is best situated to notice something that may be out of place or amiss and then alert the NYPD. For their part, the NYPD through training and other means informs the private sector of how to be on the alert for suspicious activity. The NYPD works with specific industries, like the trucking industry and truck rental firms and, with training and regular interaction specific information is transmitted directly by:
- In-person intelligence and threat briefings conducted by Counterterrorism Bureau and Intelligence Division personnel
- Informal conferrals with Patrol Borough Counterterrorism Coordinators
- NYPD Website postings
- Shield Alert e-mail messages
In return, the group shares information with NYPD Shield. The trucking industry has been a proud partner since Shield was first incorporated but given that a vehicle was used to commit this attack, and the pattern that it follows, it is crucial for trucking firms who operate in the metro area to apply for membership. Like with Truckers Against Trafficking, a great group that trains truckers to be on the lookout for and report human trafficking, it is important that those whose office is the streets keep a watchful eye.
Lastly, there is a difference between a pickup truck that anyone can rent for the day and a commercial vehicle operated by a professional. It may very well be reasonable to look at the requirements for daily rentals but it is irresponsible to use this attack as a basis for the continued vilification of the trucking industry and the impetus for half-baked traffic plans and ill-conceived street redesigns.