Arkansas Truckers to Aid in Fight Against Terror

June 1, 2004 -- Posted 5:00 p.m. CDT

West Memphis, AR -- U-S intelligence say Al Qaeda operatives already are on American soil -- planning a major attack in the coming months. And although, there are no specifics regarding a time or place, the threat is raising heavy concerns, and now the federal government is trying to enlist the support of some Arkansans to help with the terror hunt.

Outside a truck stop in Jonesboro, truckers sit and wait for their next project, but now they're being called to higher duty by the federal government.  "With all the technology with cell phones and all they could get the response out immediately," said one truck driver.

The Department of Homeland Security is enlisting truckers and others who are familiar with the nation's highways to keep an eye out for possible terror activity.

A spokesperson for the American Trucking Association says there are many applications for this program that is already in effect in 29 states, including Arkansas. "I think a high percentage -- 90% of truck drivers would be willing to do that," said another trucker.

Federal grant money is being used to recruit and train drivers for this highway watch program. So far, 500 Arkansas drivers have signed up for the program, and even out of state drivers say sign me up.  "I think that it's a long time coming for the short time that it's been, I think every trucker should get involved," said a Pennsylvania trucker.

For many of these out of state truckers they say it's about time this program got started, considering their jobs already entail watchdog skills. "My eyes are already peeled, I'm looking for anything that can prevent anything from happening."

The Department of Homeland Security hopes to have all their volunteer workers trained by March of 2005.