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FREDERICKSBURG, VA - May 15, 2010 - The recent failed car bomb in a parked car in Times Square and the discovery of the alleged bomber's getaway car in an airport parking lot are vivid reminders that parking professionals are key players on the front lines in the fight against terrorism. With thousands of vehicles entering parking facilities each day and the possibility that any of them could be carrying terrorists, International Parking Institute (IPI) members and partners play a critical role.
For decades, parking facilities and parking tickets have figured prominently in high profile terrorism and criminal cases. In the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, video from the parking garage was used as evidence to convict terrorist mastermind Ramzi Yousef, and in the case of CIA's Aldrich Ames, parking patterns led to his arrest as a Russian spy. With national security now everyone's business, parking professionals and law enforcement must work together to share data and information that can fight terrorism and improve security in parking facilities.
At its Conference & Expo in Las Vegas this week, IPI unveiled First Observer's™ new parking-specific, anti-terrorism training program. IPI has worked in partnership with First Observer,™ a national anti-terrorism and security awareness program that supports the National Preparedness Guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to shape the program which will help arm parking professionals with the skills they need to address five critical security areas: on-street, surface lots, garages/decks, special events, and shuttle operations.
A standing room only gathering of parking professionals representing cities, parking and transportation authorities, colleges and universities, airports, medical centers, commerical parking facilities, hotel, sports and entertainment venues, commerical developers and law enforcement organizations, among others, attending IPI's Conference & Expo were the first to participate in the First Observer training program geared to parking professionals.
Those in attendance had the special opportunity to receive their training from counter-terrorism expert Jeff K. Beatty, Special Senior Advisor at Total Security Services International, Inc., and a national expert in intelligence gathering and analysis. Beatty is believed to be the only U.S. citizen possessing senior-level experience in the CIA, FBI and U.S. Army where he was a Delta Force Assault Troop Commander and Operations Officer. Beatty mentioned the First Observer program during a May 5 CNN interview on the Times Square truck bomb case.
The training enables parking professionals to identify a potential threat, provides background on different terrorist groups and their patterns of operation, gives an overview of weapons, and details case studies of terror situations. First Observers build the skills to report potential situations using a concise, accurate and simple communications process.
"This is just the start of an ongoing program that we take very seriously," explained Shawn Conrad, CAE, and IPI Executive Director. "In the months ahead, the program will be developed as an e-learning program and we are committed to making this training integral to the parking profession."
The IPI Conference & Expo is the world's largest gathering of parking professionals.
About The International Parking Institute
Founded in 1962, the International Parking Institute is the largest trade association representing the parking industry. Members include professionals from cities, port authorities, civic centers, academic institutions, hospitals, airports, theme parks, corporate complexes, race tracks, transit and transportation agencies, convention and sports centers, architects, engineers, financial consultants, urban planners, commercial parking operators and suppliers of equipment, products and services to the parking and transportation industry. www.parking.org