Thursday, July 21, 2005

NYPD Gives Tips On How To Spot A Terrorist

1010 WINS - New York's All News Station |
NYPD Gives Tips On How To Spot A Terrorist

Beware the mass transit rider with clenched fists. Or one nervously feeling under or patting down his or her clothes. Or one who reeks of too much cologne or perfume.

According to a new police memo, someone looking or smelling that way — though not particularly odd by New York standards — could be a terrorist about to strike.

Issued at the New York Police Department earlier this week, the memo suggests "talking points" for officers who board trains and buses to warn commuters to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior and packages in the wake of the suicide bombings in London.

Officials at the nation's largest police department prepared the memo after seeing television news footage of a New York sergeant, Luis Pineiro, reassuring bus passengers and giving them safety tips following the July 7 attacks.

"That was the inspiration," the department's chief spokesman, Paul Browne, said Wednesday. "We thought he delivered it well and it was received well by the public, so we decided to expand it."

Officers formally began the prevention effort on Monday while doing sweeps of Amtrak trains leaving Pennsylvania Station bound for Washington, D.C., at rush hour. Commuters on subway trains and buses also will be urged to be vigilant about reporting any signs of trouble in the transit system.

Some of those signs require explanation (read on).

Clenched fists? In past attacks, suicide bombers have used explosives that require them to maintain pressure on hand-held triggering devices until detonation, police said.

The warning about a rider patting down his or her clothing stems from reports about the behavior of one of the London suicide bombers before he struck, police said. And excessive use of cologne could be a sign of someone trying to mask the scent of explosives.

The memo also advises that a bomber could give himself or herself away by "perspiring profusely, avoiding eye contact, mumbling or chanting" or by "wearing clothes that are unsuitable for the time of year," such as a coat in summer.