First Observer, a national safety and security program funded by TSA to allow school bus and other commercial drivers to report suspicious activity to law enforcement, has been temporarily disbanded after federal funding was not renewed.
While the First Observer website was scheduled to remain live through Dec. 7, Charles Hall, president of HMS Company that has administered the program since 2008 under contract with TSA, announced funding was not approved beyond Nov. 30.
“Regretfully, on this date, the HMS program support will come to an end. As such, it is necessary for us to implement new operating procedures until the program has been funded again by TSA,” Hall wrote in an email on Dec. 3.
While he added that TSA informed HMS Company that the program “will be active again in the near future,” Hall provided new operating procedures for First Observer. He said all program calls should be directed to (877) 847-5510 and that all classroom training, including train-the-trainer classes, has been placed on hold. Additionally, membership cards and certifications have been placed on hold.
First Observer questions will be handled by TSA via email.