The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Finance Center, in collaboration with the...
BexarMet Water District (San Antonio, TX) initiated its new homeland security/ citizen watch program by calling on customers who live close to water facilities to be on alert to report any suspicious activity.
Designated as Operation Eagle Claw (Citizens Looking After their Waterworks), BexarMet customers who live near water facilities are asked to keep a watchful eye on any unusual activity in their area. Participants are asked to call a BexarMet dispatcher any time of the day or night when they observe suspicious activity around a water facility. When calling in to BexarMet dispatchers, individuals will be asked to provide an address so that the dispatcher can identify the facility in question, with a description of what they have observed, as well as a call back number.
Pablo and Angelita Gallegos are the first volunteers. They live near a water storage tank and see the program as a good step forward. "Were here all the time," says Pablo Gallegos, "and whenever I see something, Ill call because we like to help."
Customers of BexarMet who live near water facilities will receive a letter requesting their assistance. The letters will outline the program and identify situations when residents should call 911 or BexarMet dispatchers. In addition, these volunteers will be given magnets, which provide the phone number of BexarMet dispatchers.
According to Martin Kufus, Security Manager for BexarMet, "Many municipal and county law-enforcement officers across our service area have responded positively and enthusiastically to our Eagle CLAW program. They see it as an opportunity to increase awareness with more watchful eyes to assist security enforcement. It is a program to give our customers more assurance and very good use of citizen participation."