Today, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier unveiled the latest tool in the fight against terrorism, iWATCHDC. The program, referred to by LAPD Chief William J. Bratton as, “the 21st century version of Neighborhood Watch” is designed to enable members of the public to help protect their communities by identifying and reporting suspicious behaviors that have been known to be used by terrorists. iWATCHDC is the next evolution in an integrated terrorism-prevention plan that works in conjunction with the Suspicious Activity Reporting System.
“We encourage anyone who witnesses what appears to be suspicious or out of the ordinary activity to report this by using iWATCHDC or calling 911,” said Chief Lanier. “Even though the activity may seem insignificant, it may just be the piece of information that is needed to get a clearer picture of a potential terrorist plot or criminal activity.”
In the months and years following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies overhauled their processes for responding to threats of terrorism. The sheer number of local governments created a unique challenge for capturing usable information. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Program was initiated in 2008. The SAR program sets standards for reporting, categorizing and forwarding information obtained by line-level officers while ensuring that fundamental privacy and civil liberty protections are recognized and implemented appropriately.
Police officers are trained to recognize behaviors and activities with possible links to terrorism. Established in December 2008, the National SAR initiative was launched in 12 major agencies in locations such as: Los Angeles, Miami Dade, Boston, Chicago, Albany New York, Virginia, Las Vegas, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC, and Maryland. The National SAR Initiative established a unified and integrated approach for all agencies, with consistent and clear intra-agency policies.
iWATCHDC was developed to complement SAR as law enforcement cannot be everywhere and see everything. iWATCH adds another tool to assist an agency’s predictive and analytical capability by educating community members about specific behaviors and activities that they should report.
For more information about iWATCHDC visit the MPD website at