McGhee stresses that this proactive mindset of policing needs to come back. With advancing technology, the art of policing has somewhat diminished, but this trains the officer to engage the public. And, he adds, the second prong is utilizing and leveraging the resource of the frontline employee as the human sensor that is capturing this anomaly. Frontline staff gets trained on what to report and how to report.
One pushback that McGhee has seen is with the personality of the officer, for example if they are more of an introverted personality. Once ice breaker-type questions have been established and they can get past that, it's a smooth interaction.
He also says that with this type of training, they're not looking for a level of anxiety and hysteria. He talks about when the Anthrax scare was a concern after 9/11, anytime there was a white substance found there were evacuations, SWAT teams were called in, bomb squads were called in; there was hypervigilance.
"Our goal is not just to educate, but a level of education so employees and officers are making professional, trained guesses to vet out a person that's high risk."
McGhee says their curriculum was approved by the Department of Homeland Security in June of 2007 and part of the technique is the tactical dialogue. He sums up what they do by saying, "We believe in educating the human sensor — the frontline staff and transit police — in understanding human behaviors."