Yulee, Fla. – Members of the Regional Domestic Security Task Force (RDSTF) Region 3 announced a new initiative designed to help citizens throughout the northeast and north central Florida become more comfortable with reporting specific suspicious behaviors often linked to terrorist activity. They can now make these reports to law enforcement by using their phone and/or the internet.
iWATCH is an innovative educational program, being rolled out by 13 Sheriff’s in Northeast/North Central Florida. As a web-based program, it is virtual, but has been designed to feel very personal and localized, as each county has their own website: Nassau County’s website is www.iWATCHNASSAU.com or call 1-888-908-5368.
“I remain convinced that the public wants to help us if they can. There is excellent educational information on this website, and it provides additional, easy ways citizens can report suspicious behavior or acts- online, on the phone, or on a mobile phone. I don’t want anyone to think that in these bad and dangerous times the specific, suspicious behaviors witnessed by a citizen aren’t important to law enforcement. They are! Data points combine to create intelligence. And good intelligence is the best tool we have in preventing and stopping tragic crimes,” said Sheriff Bill Leeper.
Utilizing funding from the State Homeland Security Grant Program, administered by the State of Florida and the U. S. Department of Homeland Security, the project creators have worked for two years to research other market’s programs, and design a program that connects this region, and reaches out to every town, city, and county in our area. “We cannot succeed in the war on terrorism without the public’s assistance,” stressed Sheriff Leeper.
“We all have critical infrastructures that could be vulnerable to attacks by criminals who want to harm or kill many people at one time. We know that in today’s environment we have to watch our farms and dairies; our boatyards and buildings; our stadiums and school houses. We all live in communities that have football games and marathons,” said Leeper. “Protecting our freedom and our way of life might be easier for people if we can help them become comfortable with their suspicions, and now we’re giving them a simple tool to use to report those suspicious activities they see.”
Other counties participating in iWATCH are: iWATCHAlachua.com; iWatchBaker.com; iWatchBradford.com; iWatchClay.com; iWatchJax.com; iWatchFlagler.com; iWatchGilchrist.com; iWatchLevy.com; iWatchMarion.com; iWatchPutnam.com; iWatchStJohns.com; and iWatchUnion.com.