|Color-coded terror warnings to discontinue|
|Written by Erin Hogg Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Thursday, 03 February 2011 16:35|
By the end of April, terrorism threats will no longer be labeled by color by the Homeland Security Advisory System, according to the Pantagraph.
Beginning after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the color-coded advisory system has been used for nine years.
For more than a year, the Homeland Security Department and other government agencies have been reviewing the system. The public will no longer hear automated recordings at airports stating the threat level is a color, according to the article.
The Homeland Security Advisory System ranged from red, orange, yellow, green and blue and went from a severe threat of a terror act to a low risk.
Cara Rabe-Hemp, associate professor of criminal justice sciences, explained the system was seen as a scare tactic that would alert people of terrorist activity, but never gave the people guidance.
“People were given a system, but no tools. They were being educated on how to be afraid,” Rabe-Hemp said.
The terror warning levels would rise and while people would hear it on the news, there was never a clear reason why the threat level had been elevated, she said.
“It became a learned helplessness of people because the government is telling them the threat level is high but not what to do about it,” Rabe-Hemp said.
A new system called the National Terrorism Advisory System will be implemented over the next three months. The new plan will notify specific geographical areas about specific threats, she said.
The new advisory system will not involve colors, she said, but the information about it is very hush-hush at the moment.
After 9/11, local police played an important role in detecting threats in their own areas.
“Local police were the first responders on 9/11 and since then, the government has relied on them to determine terror threats in their areas. They know local people of interest that could be involved in terrorism and police help in keeping the area safe,” she said.
Aaron Woodruff, acting chief of ISUPD, explained the problem with the color-coded system was it was too broad and vague to rely on.
“Local law enforcement did not use the information that came from the color-coded system. They receive information on a need to know basis depending on what the situation is,” Woodruff said.
“People should still be aware of any suspicious activities and if there is a problem, we urge them to call the police. Even on campus, if anyone suspects an act of terrorism is happening, we want the public to call,” he said.