In anticipation of the millions of pilgrims expected to come to Rome during the Jubilee Year, Rome authorities have initiated a counterterrorism program designed to instruct taxi drivers in the art of recognizing suspicious activities that could signal terroristic intent.
The special training program began Saturday under the guidance of Italian counterterrorism officials, who are enlisting the assistance of Roman cabbies to help thwart any would-be terrorist activity that may present itself in the Eternal City.
An official statement said that “many taxi drivers” had signed up for the program, which will deputize them as allies in the fight against terror.
The project was organized the “Defend Italy from Terrorism” association and carried out in collaboration with the Ecole Internationale Universitaire. According to the statement, the aim of the program is to equip the drivers in prevention and vigilance against any violent acts.
The founder of “Defend Italy from Terrorism,” Fabrizio Santori, said that the program will equip cab drivers to “serve the function of watchful eyes during the forthcoming Jubilee.”
The 500 men and women participating in the course will be trained by security experts, but are encouraged not to interfere with the police in carrying out their functions. “They will have the role of attentive observers,” Santori says, “but they will not be law officials on patrol.”
“At a time of particular international tension, the organization of this type of training can help create a climate of greater security for citizens and we, who are present 24 hours a day 365 days a year on the streets of the capital, did not want to miss the opportunity of receiving proper training in order to be able to offer another important civic contribution to the community,” wrote the Roman taxi drivers’ unions.
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