By Jac Greenlee, former SETSC Board Member and Current Board Advisor
Councils were originally started because of little to no shared intelligence about cargo theft incidents regionally. Basically, private industry decided to come together to share information about their own cargo theft losses amongst themselves and Law Enforcement in hopes to begin to minimize the thefts occurring around them regionally.
Fast forward from the inception of regional councils to today, and you will find regional councils flourishing and working hard to communicate cargo theft intelligence, training and networking between private industry, Law Enforcement and state government.
Benefits from Joining a Regional Transportation Security Council
Cargo Theft Intelligence: Attending monthly meetings are an important way to get actionable intelligence from council members of events affecting not only their supply chains, but also the supply chains of other Members. In SETSC, (Southeastern Transportation Security Council), I can’t tell you how many times one intelligence review found other affected Members resulting in additional information that lead to solving specific cases. Certainly, there are outside sources, for a price, that can assist Members and Law Enforcement; however, having a local network that comes together in commonality to fight cargo theft is just a valuable.
Training: Over the years, different councils have put together trainings for private industry and Law Enforcement. For example, SETSC tends to identify problem areas and design trainings to fit the current situation. For instance, last year in Savannah there had been several thefts of containers, primarily from unsecured yards. The focus of that training was to bring notice the awareness and best practices to secure facilities and yards in the Savannah area. The GBI Major Theft Task Force as well as private industry assisted SETSC in this training by providing current intelligence and examples of best practices. SWTSC, (The Southwest Transportation Security Council) holds the two-day Texas Summit on Cargo Theft in the first quarter of the year. This week the Midwest Cargo Security Council holds a one-day conference in the Chicago area. Finally, the National Cargo Theft Summit is held in the fall. This year it will be held in Memphis, TN. The biggest point being, current intelligence, standards, best practices, and networking, are available for little more than the expense to travel to these events through the year. Stay alert to your regional council and any trainings they should offer.
State Governments: Councils have been instrumental in getting cargo theft laws changed or amended. SETSC and SWTSC partnering with external groups/associations and Law Enforcement, were successful in getting laws changed in Texas and Georgia that gave Law Enforcement “teeth” to go after and convict cargo thieves. In addition, SETSC and Georgia Motor Trucking Association worked to lobby the Georgia Governor’s Office several years ago to provide funding for a special GBI Task Force to specifically address cargo crime. That task force, led by Special Agent-in-Charge, John Cannon has been so successful that in 2017, Georgia saw a reduction of 64 percent in cargo related incidents*, (CargoNet 2017)
Regional councils and contact information:
Eastern Regional Transportation Security Council
Kurt Duesterdick, Chairman
Virginia/Carolinas Cargo Security Council
Jennifer Bennett, Chairman
Southeastern Transportation Security Council
Bob Hastings, President
Mid-South Cargo Security Council
David Larkin, Chairman
Midwest Cargo Security Council
Nick Erdman, Chairman
Southwest Transportation Security Council
J.J. Coughlin, Chairman
Western States Cargo Theft Association - North
Sgt. Ward Radelich
Western State Cargo Theft Association - South