In a week, more than a hundred residents of the Roaring Fork Valley will be standing at the ready for the USA Pro Challenge. Volunteers will be course officials, media helpers, and help with other logistics to help the cycling race go smoothly. It’s all been done before in previous editions of the race--but this year, volunteers for Aspen and Snowmass Village are prepared to spot terrorists.
“Anyone can be a victim of terrorism, anytime, anywhere.”
That’s the voice of John Elway, famed Broncos quarterback... and he’s speaking in a video about stopping terrorists before they wreak havoc.
"Together we can change this. Each of us has the responsibility to protect our community. And we can do so by recognizing the signs of terrorism.”
The video is put together by a counter terrorism think tank in Denver. It explains how to know when someone might be showing suspicious behavior. Like taking pictures in odd places, trespassing into restricted areas, and other red flags. The Colorado State Patrol brought the somewhat doom and gloom message to a volunteer meeting last week. First off, Troopers said there isn’t a known terrorist plan for the beginning of the race in Snowmass Village and Aspen. It is about being prepared. Trooper Wayne Briggs.
“Ok, so if you are out there and you do identify something, what do you think you should do?
Volunteers will be issued phone numbers for emergencies... which means, starting the day with a full cell battery is important. And where there’s spotty cell service, there’ll be extra law enforcement... like Independence Pass.
“So you see suspicious activity, you call it in. What we don’t want to do, we don’t want to just look at someone as an individual and say, she doesn’t look right because of her skin color or her background or stuff like that, I mean just-- don’t get caught up in ethnicity and race.”
All of this added concern say the State Troopers it’s because of the Boston Marathon bombing, and, quote “what else is going on in the world.”
The training was eye opening for some volunteers. And one trainee had concerns about more common activity in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“You’re emphasizing on terrorism, but often you have issues of individuals who like to run down the street without any clothes on, or things like that. Do we have some special contact point for...”
[Trooper Wayne Briggs] “Um, that would be pretty much by location. Now if you’re on top of Independence Pass, we all know that, anyone who’s been up there, it’s Crazyville, so within reason we try to prevent what we can. However, if it doesn’t directly affect the race itself, we let it go.”
Staying on the lighter side, the State Patrol provided a list of questions volunteers should be prepared for. Like... “Where is Lance Armstrong?” “Can I ride with the racers?” “Who are you and why can’t I get out of my driveway?” And, “Are you sure Lance isn’t here?”
Note: Local organizers for the USA Pro Challenge are holding another training for volunteers on Monday, August 12th, at the Aspen Colorado Mountain College campus.