Increased Security Presence on Trains

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PaTrainFan

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This story discusses a shift in Amtrak's security strategy to a more prominent on board presence. It indicates that there is has been an increase in incidents on trains in recent years. I'm on Amtrak twice, maybe three times a year, so not a great deal, but in all my years I haven't witnessed an incident. But I'm usually hunkered in my roomette, far from the madding crowd. Have many of you more prolific riders experienced issues?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/amtrak-is-shifting-police-officers-from-stations-to-trains/2020/02/20/9bf7d874-330a-11ea-91fd-82d4e04a3fac_story.html
 
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If the police are on the train, who has final authority--the conductor or the police officer?

I don't mind it on the NEC if they are not carrying guns, but if they are going to ride up and down acting threatening, then that's not a good idea.

The conductor already has the authority to call the police and have someone taken off the train at the next stop.

I do like to see the police come through with the dogs--I find the dogs very reassuring.
 

pennyk

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I travel on Amtrak quite often and have seen numerous incidents where police were called (and passengers were discharged before their final destination).
 

MARC Rider

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Apparently, there was a spike in incidents in 2018, which seems to have subsided somewhat in 2019, but hasn't dropped to what it was in 2017.

In particular, they referred to the Silver Star, and the incidents were mainly "alcohol-related."

The other thing they're trying to do is apparently shrink the size of APD, which caused Congress to push back in the appropriations bill. That's a funny thing to do if you think you're having an increase in crime. I suppose it's an example of the corporate overlords now running Amtrak trying to get "more out of less," which is the particular bane of all business and government enterprises these days. I'm sort of surprised they're trying this stunt with law enforcement, as that's one function that seems to avoid the cost-cutter's knife.
 
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There's a new thread about somebody being robbed, sounds like in Cali somewhere, it wasn't making total sense to me, on the train.
 
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I'm not surprised there was a robbery in Cali. I hear Colombia is a pretty rough country. :rolleyes:
Bwahahahaha....

(one of my friends was once in the Juan Valdez birthday parade!)

So I noticed yet another new thread about policing on Amtrak - very strange that they are suddenly appearing....
 

Dakota 400

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I travel on Amtrak quite often and have seen numerous incidents where police were called (and passengers were discharged before their final destination).
On the SWC out of Los Angeles, there was a man who had too much to drink being obnoxious in the Dining Car, he was removed to the Lounge Car, and at our next station stop, was forcefully removed by the train's staff and a police officer who came aboard. That's the only incident I have witnessed on a train.

Surely don't travel on Amtrak as often as others, but I have been impressed with police presence at stations large and small. Washington's Union Station comes to mind immediately as well as a station like New Carrollton, MD.
 

riderails

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A few days ago, a male with "Border Patrol" or some such on his uniform walked by me in the SS Lounge and asked if I was a US citizen. I was in the middle of concentrating on something when he appeared and managed a "huh huh." This filled the bill. Seemed to be the same uniform as seen on the folks at the Niagara Falls border crossing and elsewhere. Are illegals hopping on the Empire Builder in Montana and nearby states? It did not appear fellow passengers were impressed as no one mentioned the intrusion and I did not bring it up.
 

Seaboard92

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Border patrol is allowed to work within 100 miles of an international border if I’m right. Which means they have quite a jurisdiction.

Where Amtrak needs police is the food court in Union Station in DC. Sit down for two minutes and I can guarantee the homeless will come and beg for money.
 

railiner

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I think relocating APD assets from station's to train's, makes sense. While the Conductor can call and request police intervention along the way, in some places that can take considerable time and distance to achieve, while station's can benefit from aid from local law enforcement. As the article mentioned, major station's like Penn Station - NY, are already patrolled by additional agencies...MTA police, NJT police, Federal agencies, and even NYPD and NYS at times, in addition to APD.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Border patrol is allowed to work within 100 miles of an international border if I’m right. Which means they have quite a jurisdiction.

Where Amtrak needs police is the food court in Union Station in DC. Sit down for two minutes and I can guarantee the homeless will come and beg for money.
I’ve never had any homeless bother me at WUS’s food court.
 

daybeers

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I am wary of this approach. While keeping the Amtrak system safe is important, even I, as a white male, am extremely hesitant around law enforcement and raise my guard even higher rather than lower it, which should be what happens. I suppose I'll take more enforcement by APD rather than more random boardings and ID checks by CBP.

Is there somewhere the APD data is published? It would be nice to see what the cause is of the spike in incidents over the last couple years.

In the nearly 14k miles I've traveled on Amtrak, I have rarely seen officers, even in the stations, except for WAS, NHV, HAR, NYP, and CHI. The only occasion on a train was on the Pennsylvanian when two officers walked through my car just after leaving Pittsburgh while the train was stopped for maybe 20 minutes. I didn't have a scanner then so I'm not sure what happened.
 

Tom Booth

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A few days ago, a male with "Border Patrol" or some such on his uniform walked by me in the SS Lounge and asked if I was a US citizen. I was in the middle of concentrating on something when he appeared and managed a "huh huh." This filled the bill. Seemed to be the same uniform as seen on the folks at the Niagara Falls border crossing and elsewhere. Are illegals hopping on the Empire Builder in Montana and nearby states? It did not appear fellow passengers were impressed as no one mentioned the intrusion and I did not bring it up.
It happened to us on the LSL last February. Border patrol police asked PAX if thy were US citizens. Barely waited for our responses and moved on.
 

dogbert617

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Other than very rare instances of people being kicked off the train due to(more than likely) being too drunk or acting annoying to other customers I suspect, honestly most trips I've taken on Amtrak have felt pretty safe to me.

Funny someone mentioned Washington, DC Union Station about the homeless in that food court and near that station being annoying, since occasionally I'll notice them at Chicago Union Station asking for money somewhere inside or just outside of that station. I do wish Amtrak Police did watch for that a little more closely, and kicked out people who were being annoying doing that.
 

jloewen

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I travel on Amtrak quite often and have seen numerous incidents where police were called (and passengers were discharged before their final destination).
When I was a kid in Decatur, IL, some NY Yankees (Mantle, etc.) were put off the Wabash Cannonball in my hometown, en route to playing the Browns, and had to take a taxi to STL (120 miles). I wrote a new verse to the song about this, here: https://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/152354
 
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Having thought about this a bit more, I think the decision should be up to the conductors. Since they are technically in charge, they should be able to say if they want police on the train or if they prefer the old system, where they just called ahead to the next station to have the police come and remove someone causing a problem.

Personally, I think the old system seemed to work just fine. I also would not like to see the police put in charge of the conductors when they are on the train--the conductor should still have the same authority as they have always had.
 

MARC Rider

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Seems like a job for a station clerk rather than an armed police officer.
I think the food court is managed by the real estate deveopment company that manages all the shops in the station. So this might not be Amtrak's responsibility.

I do agree that some of the homeless types are an annoyance down there, but I suspect they could be dealt with using private security, not fully armed sworn officers.
 

Big Iron

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I was on 66 two weeks ago and an APD officer boarded in New Haven. He stayed on until Providence. I saw him hanging out with the crew in the cafe. I did not see him interact with any passengers. I also noticed a very visible police presence at BOS and CHI inside the stations. Outside of South Station were a handful of homeless sleeping in the open area just in front of the station. Not 20 feet away were an APD and Transit officer. No attempt was made to move them.
 
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