Metro News Release
For immediate release: August 10, 2006
Metro steps up security as a precaution after foiled London terror plot
Metro is ramping up security today as a precaution after an aviation terror plot was thwarted in Britain.
Transit police are doing random sweeps of stations, trains and buses. Passengers also may see other law enforcement officers conducting inspections. Rail and bus employees also have stepped up inspections of buses, trains, stations, MetroAccess vehicles and other Metro facilities. The transit agency also has closed all public restrooms in rail stations today. Additional measures include increased security announcements and dumping trash cans more often.
“There is no threat to mass transit, but it’s prudent to step up security given that mass transit has been a terrorist target in the past,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson. “We also want to remind passengers that they are our eyes and ears to report any unattended packages, unusual behaviors and anything that seems suspicious.”
Riders are advised to call Transit Police at 202-962-2121 or alert a Metro employee about unattended packages, unusual behaviors and anything that seems suspicious.
Below is a list of security enhancements at Metro since the July 2005 bombings of the London transit system.
1. Targeted Train Inspections
A large contingent of Metro Transit Police officers, including a K9 team, blankets a Metrorail station to look for suspicious activity. They choose random stations at random times for “surprise” station and train inspections. The officers spread out along the length of the station platform and inspect all trains passing through the station.
2. TSA Canine Program
MTPD participated in the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) National Explosives Detection Canine Team Program. Three MTPD officers completed the TSA training and the department gained two new explosive detection dogs. Under the program, TSA provides Metro with the dogs, training, yearly evaluations and partial reimbursement to cover costs associated with the program.
3. Partnering with federal and local policing agencies
In the days following the July 7, 2005, attack in London, officers from other police agencies, including U.S. Park Police, U.S, Capitol Police, Pentagon Police Force, Arlington County Police Department and Metropolitan Police Department, were deployed to Metro facilities in their jurisdictions.
4. Explosive-containment trash cans
Continue to install explosive-con trash cans to Metrorail station platforms. Trash cans were removed from station platforms as a security precaution following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. We purchased trash cans last year and began installing them in stations last year after Metro riders noted more trash on trains and in stations.
5. Metrobus Enforcement Division (MED)
We plan to add 20 Metro Transit Police officers to the Metrobus Enforcement Division to strengthen security efforts on buses and at Metrobus garages.
6. High Intensity Targeted Enforcement
MTPD has increased security on Metrobuses with the High Intensity Targeted Enforcement (HITE) effort. MTPD will saturate select bus routes with both uniformed and plainclothes officers. The officers ride the buses, patrol busy bus stops, talk with passengers, bus drivers and community residents.
7. Video cameras on Metrobuses
Security cameras installed on more Metrobuses. Currently, 585 Metrobuses (roughly 40 percent of the Metrobus fleet) have on-board cameras. All new Metrobuses arrive equip with video cameras.
8. Increased tunnel inspections
MTPD officers ride alongside Metrorail operators through tunnels, adding another level of inspection in Metro’s infrastructure.
9. New uniforms for police
Starting July 4, MTPD will wear a new uniform. The bright blue uniform shirts make the police officers more visible and easily identifiable.
10. Communications with the federal agencies
MTPD has regular communications with the FBI and other federal agencies. An MTPD Captain now participates on the FBI’s National Terrorism Task Force.
11. Regional transit cooperation
MTPD participates in Northeast Corridor Initiative, working closely with Amtrak Police and other police agencies in the Northeast Corridor.
12. Upgrades to public announcement system
The public address system is being upgraded in 39 underground stations. The new public address system will serve as a valuable tool to disseminate information during an emergency.
13. Replacement of closed circuit television monitors
30 Metrorail stations are getting new closed circuit television monitors.
1. Behavioral Assessment Screening System (BASS) Training
300 Metro Transit Police and regional law enforcement officers took a highly specialized training course to spot behaviors of would-be terrorists planning or executing an attack, and learn how to take action to mitigate danger, including confronting a suicide bomber in spring 2006.
2. Warning Signs video by the National Transit Institute
Warning Signs video posted on Metro’s intranet for Metro employees to view. The video by the National Transit Institute, was created specifically to give transit employees information on system security. Topics covered include observing, identifying and reporting suspicious activities and behaviors, how to determine whether items are suspicious or unattended, and how to respond to incidents.
3. System Security—Warning Signs
MTPD and Operations training developed a one-hour class on system security using the Warning Signs video as a starting point. All Operations were required to take the class last year. The class covered prevention, suspicious activities and packages, incident response, reporting, vehicle inspections and specific Metro procedures.
4. Terrorist Activity Recognition and Reaction class for employees
MTPD offered the Terrorist Activity Recognition and Reaction training class to all employees in August. The class covers the role of all Metro employees in safeguarding the Metro system, customers and fellow employees.
5. Increased participation/interest in training for local police, first responders and citizens
Metro hosts a variety of safety and training classes for local police, first responders and citizens:
A. More than 8,000 firefighters, police officers and first responders have trained at Metro’s Emergency Response Training Facility. The tunnel is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week for local jurisdictions and other emergency responders to use for mock fire and rescue exercises, terrorism and disaster drills, and other simulations involving Metrorail trains and tunnels.
B. More than 1,500 first responders have attended the Managing Metro Emergencies course, hosted by Metro Transit Police. The class covers mitigation, evacuation, transportation of evacuated rail riders and recovering from incidents, such as fires, crashes and acts of terrorism. The course focuses on better management of pedestrian and vehicle traffic after any evacuations of rail stations.
C. More than 200 citizens across the region have received Metro Citizens Corps training. The program provides Metro-specific training ranging from rail safety, and emergency preparation and response to identification of terrorist activity. Area residents who have received specialized safety/emergency response training within their local jurisdictions are eligible to join the Metro Citizens Corps.
1. Metro Safety Tips
Metrorail train operators regularly deliver safety/security announcements at station stops over the train’s public address system. The announcements range from reporting suspicious behavior to rail car evacuation procedures.
2. Outreach campaign
Began the “See It" Say It!” campaign, encouraging riders to report unusual behavior, unattended packages and suspicious activity to Metro employees.
3. Advertising campaign—Terrorism the threat.
We continually refresh our security messages aimed at our riders – updating public address announcements and posters in the rail and bus system. The most recent ad reminds Metro riders to remain vigilant, and specifically mentions the London attack. The headline of the ad reads, “Terrorism in the threat. Complacency is the accomplice.”
News release issued on August 10, 2006.