State to begin security inspections of trucks

From Staff Reports

   Several state departments have coordinated joint efforts to prevent terrorism in Tennessee by conducting security inspections of trucks entering the state via the Interstate system.
   "We want to make it very clear that there has been no specific threat made to our state," said Major General Jerry D. Humble, director of Tennessee's Office of Homeland Security. "We want to deter terrorism and reduce our vulnerability to attack. We'd rather be safe than sorry."
   The state's departments of Safety, Homeland Security, the Tennessee National Guard, the Department of Transportation, and the State Fire Marshal's office are among those involved in the project. Trucks will be stopped at Department of Safety inspection centers and investigated by members of the department's Commerical Vehicle Enforcement division.
   Personnel from the National Guard and Fire Marshal's office will be available to provide any specialized technical assistance that may be needed. TDOT will provide appropriate signs to notify truck drivers of the inspections ahead.
   The project is in conjunction with President Bush's national security efforts encouraging states to take precautions since the national threat level has been raised to orange.
   The first round of inspections will be conducted today in East Tennessee. The operation will be a first step, according to Humble.
   Department of Safety Commissioner Fred Phillips says he believes the operation is important, especially during this time of heightened awareness.
   "We want to ensure the security of the citizens of Tennessee," Phillips said.
   Regular Interstate travel will not be affected by the inspections, since trucks will exit the highway at the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement division's inspection stations.