While no time frame was given, the Transportation Security Administration's lead school bus representative said that the First Observer program will return once it is expanded to achieve greater national reach.
Last month, the federal contractor that managed the First Observer program for training student transportation professionals and others on reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement announced that federal funding had expired. STN previously reported that the programs website was scheduled to be taken down, but the site remained functional at this report.
William Arrington, GM of TSA's Office of Highway and Motorcarrier, told School Transportation News that First Observer will definitely continue, but he did not provide a time frame as TSA was "between providers" as the program was being updated to expand its reach into new surface modes and to reflect changes made to TSA's organizational structure.
"Nonetheless, online training, existing curriculum elements and our suspicious activity reporting lines all remain operational. The same phone number still works, toll-free at 888-217-5902," said Arrington. "This program has proven to be one of the most popular outreach efforts in all of TSA. We're dedicated to its continuation."
The full transcript of Arrington's interview can be found in our online Web Exclusive.