Metro Steps Up Security After Paris Attacks
Metro Transit Police announced Monday that additional patrols were deployed on Nov. 13, as news broke of the attacks in France that left 129 dead and hundreds more wounded. A news release noted increased patrols “will continue for an unspecified period of time.” “We’re upset and troubled by the tragic events in Paris, but you have to look back here at the United States,” MTPD Chief Ronald Pavlik told reporters Monday. “And although there is no credible threat here in the United States, it’s important that we remind our riders and our employees that we do operate a safe system.”
Pavlik addressed the press at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop, as two K9 units examined the area near the entrance gates. TheMTPD will conduct additional sweeps with K9 units at rail stations and “critical infrastructure.” The department will also expand “random explosives screenings,” and noted in its news release that, “Any bag or package carried onto the system may be subject to screening by MTPD officers.”
Pavlik said the screening is not intrusive, and involves a bag being wiped with a swab and tested for traces of explosives. He said three to four officers will likely be on hand for the screenings and the department also often works with Transportation Security Administration agents to conduct the screenings. Pavlik was asked about the measures adding additional time to commutes.
“If our riders ever feel inconvenienced because we might delay their travel, that’s an unfortunate price you might have to pay sometimes for security,” said Pavlik. He latter added that the screenings are “over and done within a matter of seconds.”
Pavlik said the department is coordinating with its federal partners, and he is in contact with top transportation security officials over the weekend.
The chief declined to go into specifics in terms of numbers of officers on patrol or cost for overtime of those officers. He did note that more officers will be deployed during the morning and evening rush hours.
Asked about specific measures taken at stops that are potential targets, such as Union Station and Capitol South, which service the U.S. Capitol, Pavlik cautioned, “There’s no specific or credible threat against here in the United States, or Metro specifically, or mass transit.” But he said sharing intelligence with law enforcement partners is essential.
Both Metro stops are within the jurisdiction of the Capitol Police. Earlier Monday, the Capitol Police Board sent a memo to congressional offices stating that the department is “on highest alert ” following the Paris attacks.
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