The IWATCH program, was activated Army-wide last year. It is a community program designed to help neighborhoods stay safe from potential terrorist activities.
â€œThe program is similar in function to what the neighborhood watch used to be, but itâ€™s focused on counterterrorism,â€ explains Loraine Griffin, installation force protection specialist in the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security office. IWATCH is a program of old ideas, packaged in a law enforcement environment for counterterrorism.
Army personnel established the parameters of the program within the law enforcement environment. Master Sgt. David Prince, operations sergeant in DES, began tailoring a standard operating procedure for Fort Huachuca. He did this by implementing the abilities and capabilities of DES personnel and structured the standard operating procedure into a viable program to work within the parameters of the installation.
â€œWe have a dedicated phone line for the program that will be answered 24/7 at the MP (Military Police) station, and whatever happens theyâ€™ll vet it from there and push it forward based on our SOP,â€ Prince explains, noting DES personnel will make the determination as to what agencies, if any, should get involved.
The number to call to report suspicious behavior is 533.6969.
Suspicious behavior includes, but is not limited to, strangers asking questions about security forces or procedures, people drawing or measuring important buildings, cars or trucks left in â€œNo Parkingâ€ zones in front of important buildings, and people purchasing supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons.
â€œWhen you call that number youâ€™re going to be on the phone with someone who is trained and ready to deal with whatever the situation may be,â€ Prince says, noting there are certain things the MPs are going to react to immediately and certain things they wonâ€™t react to immediately, â€œbut everything will be addressed.â€
â€œWe already have certain programs within Fort Huachuca that serve us well,â€ Griffin says, explaining IWATCH is a unique program. â€œ[Prince] built a conduit for this program so it can funnel into a single source system and allow it to go into one area and then [law enforcement personnel] make the decision on where it goes from there.â€
Griffin is reminding everyone to get the word out and we will also use various other avenues to include Public Service Announcement commercials on the Commanderâ€™s Access Channel (Channel 97), posters in buildings on post, and distributing information to the units here.
â€œThe way we approach this program is through community involvement. We rely on family support groups, the unitsâ€™ commanders and first sergeants to bring together Soldiers so they can go talk to their Families,â€ Griffin notes.
Personnel in DPTMS and DES are asking for people to have confidence that this is a beneficial program, and DES personnel are here to help.
â€œForce protection is near and dear to the Armyâ€™s heart,â€ Griffin says, adding the Army is finding a way to take care of the installation, and this is another sense of security for the installation.
â€œSome of these Soldiers are on their second and third deployments, and this is a sense of security for the Families,â€ she adds.
For more information about IWATCH or to view the Armyâ€™s IWATCH videos, users can log in to their AKO account via www.us.army.mil, and click on the IWATCH link on their homepage.