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Funding for First Observer program runs out

First Observer security training classes and other program functions have been placed on hold until new funding is provided.

The Trucker News Services

12/11/2012

WASHINGTON — The fate of the First Observer program appears to be up in the air as federal funding has ended.

HMS Co. President Charles Hall made the announcement to First Observer affiliates in a letter last week.

HMS, which has administered the program since September 2008, hasn’t received funding for it beyond Nov. 30, Hall said.

“Regretfully, on this date, the HMS program support will come to an end,” Hall wrote. “As such, it is necessary for us to implement new operating procedures until the program has been funded again by TSA.”

First Observer is a national safety and security program that uses the skills, experiences and savvy of America's transportation professionals, primarily truckers, to help protect the critical transportation function that moves the goods and services and people across America.

First Observer security training classes and other program functions have been placed on hold until new funding is provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Hall said.

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Hall said effective Dec. 1, the calls to the hotline were to be made to (877) 847-5510 and that effective Dec. 7, the program website as well as the Highway Information Sharing and Analysis Center website were no longer accessible.

However, as of Tuesday morning, the website was still up.

E-mails should go to FirstObserver@tsa.dhs.gov.

Hall noted that TSA has said that First Observer will be active again in the near future. He also thanked those who have participated in the program.

“You have played a major role in helping to protect our nation from those who are actively seeking to bring down our national infrastructure,” Hall wrote in the letter. “We believe that collectively with your support, we have made a difference in the fight against terrorism.”

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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