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Amtrak stepping up security for 9-11 anniversary

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below, from Amtrak...

August 31, 2011


More passenger and baggage screenings, K-9 explosive detection teams, and
officers at stations and on trains

WASHINGTON - During the 10th anniversary period of the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks, Amtrak is enhancing security measures by conducting more passenger and
baggage screenings, increasing the use of K-9 explosive detection teams, and
expanding police patrols at stations, on trains, along the tracks and other key
rail infrastructure.

The Amtrak Police Department is performing these security activities in the
Northeast Corridor and across the country in coordination with local, state and
federal law enforcement agencies as well as with the several host railroads on
whose tracks many Amtrak trains operate.
"Amtrak is committed to identifying the most likely security threats and we are
focusing our efforts on defeating or deterring the most dangerous and likely
threats," said Amtrak Vice President and Chief of Police John O'Connor.

Ten years after the devastating attacks on 9/11, the Amtrak Police Department
(APD) has transitioned from a traditional police department aimed at preventing
and responding to crimes, to a police and security agency geared toward
anticipating security threats in the short and long term, and staying a step
ahead of them. This focus on security allows Amtrak to better protect its
passengers, employees and railroad equipment, infrastructure and other

Amtrak will continue to monitor the latest technologies and look for ways to
improve its security efforts. Amtrak is currently working with the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to test, integrate and implement
intrusion detection technologies to more effectively protect the right of way.
Other technologies being developed by Amtrak will improve upon existing security
strategy and operations, enhance interagency information sharing and local
agency response to Amtrak incidents.

Over the last decade, Amtrak has implemented a number of security programs and
initiatives to improve passenger rail safety and security. Efforts include the
use of specially trained explosive detection and vapor wake K-9 teams, passenger
and baggage screenings, and the development of strong partnerships with local,
state, federal and international agencies - including active participation in
FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces - to share intelligence and conduct joint
security exercises.

Beyond APD law enforcement personnel, Amtrak security is aided by an additional
line of defense-the frontline employees who work at stations, on trains, and
maintain the tracks and other infrastructure. Thousands of Amtrak employees
have received security training to serve as extra eyes and ears of the railroad.

In addition, Amtrak is engaging passengers and the public to be on alert and
report safety or security issues as part of a neighborhood watch style program
called Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security (PASS). Individuals are
encouraged to report behaviors or activities that are unusual or out of the
ordinary such as trespassers and suspicious packages by calling Amtrak Police at
1- 800- 331-0008.

This past spring, Amtrak conducted focus groups with its passengers in several
cities and learned that many riders felt secure on the trains, therefore were
less likely to report something suspicious to police or train personnel.

"What we heard was alarming, yet not surprising," said Chief O'Connor. "Many
passengers said ten years after 9/11 they were experiencing security fatigue,
and were complacent about security messages. Others admitted that they were
embarrassed or too afraid to report something to police in case they were wrong
about what they saw. We think our new campaign addresses both of these issues in
a way that not only reassures our riders, but empowers them to come forward so
police can determine what is a potential threat or not."

The new slogan, "If you See Something, Say Something.Hopefully, its Nothing,"
will be displayed today on posters at Amtrak train stations in 11 cities to
include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and
Baltimore. The new messaging campaign will launch nationally this fall.

About AmtrakĀ®:
Celebrating 40 years of dedicated service as America's Railroadsm, Amtrak is the
nation's intercity passenger rail provider and its only high-speed rail
operator. A record 28.7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2010 on
more than 300 daily trains - at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) - that connect 46
states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates
trains in partnership with 15 states and four commuter rail agencies. Amtrak
also is a strong financial performer achieving an 85 percent cost-recovery ratio
in FY 2010. Enjoy the journeysm at or call 800-USA-RAIL for
schedules, fares and more information. Join us on and
follow us at

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 31, 2011 2:44 PM.

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