A federally funded program that encourages New Jersey transit service commuters to “Text Against Terror” has brought in 307 tips since it started in June 2011, but most of them have proven to be unfounded.
Christopher Trucillo, chief of the New Jersey Transit Police, told the Asbury Park Press
that 71 of the texts “referred to something regarding homeland security,” and that some resulted in the agency referring them to the state Joint Terrorism Task Force, consisting of the FBI, Homeland officials, port authority police, and other agencies.
Trucillo said he couldn’t discuss the nature of some of the text messages that were investigated as possible serious threats, because of security reasons.
The program, funded with a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant of $5.8 million grant, reaches out to the New Jersey and New York commuting public through radio and television ads, ads located on buses and trains, and printed fliers.
The funding also supports a special transit police domain for text messages.
“We’re not doing it to waste valuable tax dollars or that we don’t have anything else to do. We live in a dangerous world and in an area where two significant terrorist events happened (in 1993 and 2001),” said Trucillo, referring to the attacks on the New York federal building and the World Trade Center.
“We ask people to understand that we do it with their best interests in mind and to make the public aware of counterterrorism efforts, so we can keep mass transit safe.”
The focus on mass transit in considered critical because of the terrorist attacks in 2004 in Spain and 2005 in London that killed hundreds of commuters.
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