OKLAHOMA CITY – You may have seen the public service announcements on television in recent weeks, the ones that ask viewers if they are “red dirt ready.” Not sure what it’s all about? Well, Oklahoma Watchdog went looking for answers this week.
The first portion of the article goes over emergency preparedness for natural disasters, catastrophic or terrorist events with similar advice as can be found at the www.ready.gov website. Unsurprisingly Oklahoma’s statewide efforts are funded by the national Dept. of Homeland Security.
Then Oklahoma’s Watchdog, Andrew Griffin asks about the suspicious behavior reporting aspect of Red Dirt Ready;
Back at RedDirtReady.com, under the subhead “How to identify suspicious activity,” it goes into how citizens can identify terrorists. Noting that “a local activity” like people “celebrating in an apartment complex on the anniversary of 9/11” is definitely suspicious activity and should be reported.
Further examples of “suspicious activity” that Red Dirt Ready citizens should be aware of also includes “surveillance, note-taking, drawing of diagrams, using binoculars or night-vision devices.”
Inquiring further about the terrorism concerns, Arbeitman said while everyone should go about their day-to-day routine, it is wise to always been aware that the sinister specter of terrorism is always lurking.
. . .“What we’re encouraging people to do is to be aware of their surroundings,” she said. “If you see something unusual, be prepared to tell someone about that.”
“I think we’d say it’s better to be safe than sorry,” Arbeitman said.
Noting this reporter’s coverage of Tea Party events, political protests and so forth and recalling Red Dirt Ready’s “Examples of suspicious activity” list on their website, Oklahoma Watchdog asked Arbeitman about OHS’s monitoring of constitutionally-protected speech such as protests.
“Certainly people have the right to free speech,” she said. “We don’t do investigations out of this office.”
. . .Arbeitman noted that volunteer organizations like the Oklahoma Citizen Corps and Volunteers in Public Service (VIPS) are places where folks can offer to help their state. She said that folks with an interest in “CSI” and “policing” might find those opportunities worthwhile.
“These are non-operational roles,” she said. “Administrative work, getting involved in neighborhood watches, especially in smaller, rural departments.”
Read the entire article here