Amtrak Security Beefed Up for 9/11 Anniversary

The nation's passenger railroad, Amtrak, recently announced it has increased security nationwide for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Amtrak said the Amtrak Police Department has increased screenings of passengers and baggage. It also has increased the use of K-9 explosives detection teams and has expanded patrols at stations, on trains, and along tracks and key rail infrastructure.

This has been done in coordination with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and with host railroads on whose tracks 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.

Amtrak also said thousands of its employees have received security training, and it asking passengers and the public to be on alert and report safety or security issues as part of a neighborhood watch-style program named Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security (PASS). Unusual behaviors or activities, trespassers, and suspicious packages can be reported by calling Amtrak Police at 800-331-0008.

The company said it conducted focus groups with its passengers in several cities earlier this year and found many riders felt secure on the trains. As a result, they were less likely to report something suspicious to police or train personnel. "What we heard was alarming, yet not surprising," said 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 campaign's slogan, "If you See Something, Say Something.... Hopefully, it's Nothing," is displayed on posters at Amtrak train stations in 11 cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore. The new messaging campaign will launch nationally later this year.

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