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Course looks at terrorism

By Diane Wagner

In his Basic Terrorism Awareness Course (BATC), Locust Grove readiness trainer John Duffey teaches the five elements that go into a lethal attack.

"Three of the elements can be detected and, at those points, the attack can be stopped," he said. "The fifth element is when the bomb goes off, the anthrax spills, people start getting hurt."

Duffey, a former military police officer who spent 10 months in Bosnia-Herzegovina investigating suspected war crimes, thought he was done with counter-terrorism when he left the Clayton County Police Department and opened a commercial photography studio.

In the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, however, he and his wife Jennifer discovered a growing demand for knowledge, in the civilian as well as military realms.

Jennifer Duffey also worked as a military police officer and served as a protection officer for the Federal Reserve Bank. She said domestic strikes, like the bombings at Olympic Park and the Oklahoma City federal building and the release of sarin nerve gas in a Tokyo subway, don't just happen overnight.

"Civilians come in contact with terrorists far more than they realize," she said. "It takes months, years sometimes, to go through all the steps. If people know what they're looking at, they can stop it. If they don't, it just looks like another nut running around the city."

The BATC course created by the Duffeys' company, JMDS, focuses on the planning stages, strategies and weapons that are part of contemporary attacks.

"Anyone who's going to come in contact with the public can benefit from recognizing certain signs," Jennifer Duffey said. "The Department of Homeland Security puts financial institutions, schools, medical facilities, communications and law enforcement high on the potential target list, but anyone can be a victim if they make the wrong person angry."

Capt. Ken Swanson of the Locust Grove Police Department said he is trying to schedule a date for the free training session JMDS is offering the department.

"It's a question of familiarization," Swanson said. "A lot of our officers don't have knowledge of some of the things that are out there. You just don't realize what they can make bombs out of these days."

One of the BATC training aids is a small, metal toolbox full of carpet tacks and a primitive bomb wired to explode when the lid is opened. John Duffey said his model is based on one used by an angry divorced man to kill several of his ex-wife's family members.

"You see a tool box on the side of the road and you think someone might have lost it off a vehicle," Swanson said. "About half of our department has gone through some type of terror training since 9-11, but you never know what's out there."

The JMDS seminars are open to individuals as well as corporate and government personnel. A two-day session is scheduled for Aug. 26 and 27 in Atlanta, with others set for Nashville, Boston, Austin and Denver.

"When you say ?terrorism,' a lot of people get angry or they get afraid," John Duffey said. "We want to take that fear away and show them they can fight it on their own level, if they know what they're looking for."