REGINA, Sask. – Canadian truckers are being asked to help the RCMP target criminals using the country’s highway system.
The RCMP’s Operation Pipeline/Convoy/Jetway program is aimed at capturing criminals or terrorists utilizing Canada’s transportation system.
The program was initiated in the U.S. and brought to Canada in 1994.
“We modified it to address Canadian challenges and concerns,” explains Sgt. Rob Reiters, national coordinator of the program.
“It’s geared towards raising the awareness levels and investigative skills of drivers.”
Virtually every criminal or potential terrorist in Canada uses the country’s transportation system, whether by car, plane or bus, Reiters points out.
Operation Pipeline/Convoy/Jetway allows truckers to participate on the front lines of the war against crime.
“Who knows more about what should and shouldn’t be on the highway than the people who are out there for a living?” asks Reiters.
If truckers notice suspicious activity, they are encouraged to report it to Crimestoppers or the local police.
So far, the program seems to be effective in removing criminals from the street.
“The three programs have detected $2 billion in seizures of contraband, they’ve detected murderers, and missing children – all types of criminality,” says Reiters. “At one time or another it’ll all end up in the transportation system.”
While the program generates its share of false alarms, Reiters says it’s important truckers act upon their instincts if they see something suspicious.
“If you ignore it, who knows what can happen?” he says, noting the transportation system is often a target of terrorist activities.
“We have to look to Madrid, Spain and realize it was a train explosion, Timothy McVeigh, London, England – the one commonality is they’re all using the transportation system,” Reiters says.
“You can put 60,000 lbs of explosives on a commercial truck. Oklahoma was one-fifth of that. It starts putting some perspective on what damage can be done with a truck. We want people to be more vigilent, call Crimestoppers, the local police, anyone.”
Yanke Transport has recently shown its support for the program by agreeing to display a 2’x2′ sign on each of its trailers.
The signs inform motorists about the program and instruct them to call Crimestoppers if they detect suspicious activities.
“It’s a rolling billboard that covers 70 million miles every year,” Reiters points out.
“If we do this right and end up with decals on every commercial trailer, every time you stop or are driving down the road you’re going to be reminded about this. Maybe it’ll remind you about something you saw that was bizarre and remind you to let somebody know about it. We’d love to roll the program out with other carriers as well.”
Sgt. Doug Dersch, with Saskatchewan Crimestoppers, adds “We’ve made this program available to other transportation industies. If they want it, we’re telling them how to do it and hopefully it’ll go from there and maintain itself.”
Although 1,100 Yanke trailers have carried the signs since earlier this summer, it’s difficult to determine if they’ve directly led to any arrests, Dersch admits.
“This is one program where we can’t determine the success or failure based on stats because of the anonymity of the tipsters,” he points out.
For more information on the program or to get involved with the trailer initiative, contact Reiters at 306-780-3462.