Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office starts anti-terrorism program CPAT, encourages citizen reporting

Questions rise of balancing protection, privacy

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- - Be on the lookout.

That is the message the Palm Beach County Sheriff's office is sending using a new video to enlist residents of the area to spot terrorists before they can strike.

The program is also raising questions about striking a balance between protection and privacy.

The program is called CPAT or Community Partners Against Terrorism.

Doing something as simple as taking a picture of a bridge with no one in the foreground is just one of the examples the sheriff's office is using to encourage residents to report suspicious activity.

"I'm just shooting pictures," said Dennis Mondul, a Palm Beach Gardens resident who was filming Royal Park Bridge on Wednesday. "It's pretty and a I want to catch it."

Mondul said he would never consider what he is doing suspicious.

"Somebody going in a skiff and measuring off beams, that would be suspicious. But taking pictures of the sunset is really a stretch," said Mondul.

Taking pictures of bridges is just one example PBSO offers in relation to the citizen reporting terrorism prevention program called CPAT.

The sheriff's office explains leaving bags or parking cars and leaving them in odd places are also considered red flags.

"That's the way of the world now and days. Any time, any place, something could happen," said Reggie Montgomery, a retired officer and private investigator.

Montgomery said Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is just trying to save lives. He said there is more risk right now in people being timid than in citizens going overboard in reporting suspicious activity.

"You got to try to balance this whole deal. It's going to be just that, a balancing act," said Montgomery.

Mondul can see the point Montgomery is making but said it is could be a tough call when to report someone and when not to report someone.

"Setting the benchmark on non-suspicious things and calling them suspicious is challenge," said Mondul

When reached for comment, spokesperson Teri Barbera Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said no one was available to speak about CPAT.

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