Reporting suspicious activity everyone's job

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
With the nation being on high alert for terrorist activities, Team Robins is encouraged to be diligent but practical.

Reporting suspicious packages, activities or people is everyone's responsibility.

Capt. Kenneth Canty II, 78th Air Base Wing Security Forces Operations officer, said the first thing is to recognize what constitutes something as being suspicious.

As far as packages go, there are several factors. A package that is unexpected doesn't necessarily mean a package is suspicious. 

A gym bag left in front of the base gym wouldn't automatically be suspicious. 

A package with protruding wires, fluids leaking from it or a handwritten label with misspelled words is considered suspicious.

It's called the "totality of the circumstances" which determines a package's threat.

If the package is deemed suspicious, call Security Forces. Then evacuate the immediate area. Don't use a radio or cell phone near the package.

"Security forces, an explosive ordnance disposal team or the Fire Department must confirm and make the final determination if a package is suspicious," Canty said.

Identifying a suspicious person isn't as clear cut.  

For example, Canty explained, a person wearing a large trench coat in July would be someone who is suspicious. Something protruding out of clothes, like a gun, would also be cause to call SFS or 911.

Some activities considered suspicious would be someone taking pictures or videotaping places such as the base gates or near the flight line or taking notes of people coming in and out of a building.

The rule is not to alarm the person by making contact. 

Getting a description of height, weight, clothing, gender and race helps to identify the person to officials. If the person is in a vehicle, make sure to get a license plate and description of the car.

"A suspicious activity and suspicious person might be two different things," said Master Sgt. Bruce Herrington Jr., Installation Anti-Terrorism officer.

If units or squadrons want training on what to do, SFS can set up scenarios to test people's reactions to certain situations. It also provides security forces with practice on how its personnel respond.

"People just need to have an eye out. There is an increasing level of alertness," Canty said.