A new government program aims to train thousands of parking industry employees nationwide to watch for and report anything suspicious. Organizers said parking attendants and enforcement officers are as important to thwarting attacks as the two Times Square street vendors who alerted police to a smoking SUV that was found to contain a gasoline-and-propane bomb. The program has been in the works for about a year and gave its first presentation at the convention, attended by hundreds of people who run parking operations for cities, universities, stadiums and other places around the country. Funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and administered by TSA, the program teaches parking-lot operators to watch for odd activities that could precede an attack by days or months: strange odors such as diesel from gasoline vehicles, cars parked where they shouldn’t be, people who seem to be conducting surveillance by taking photos or drawing sketches. The program is part of a larger effort by the government since 9/11 to enlist ordinary people — airline passengers, subway riders, bus drivers, truckers, doormen, building superintendents — to serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement. The executive director of corporate security for MGM Mirage, which owns all or part of 11 casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, said all new hires, including parking valets, housekeepers, and casino cashiers, are trained to watch for signs of terrorism.

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