Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random security checks added for MARC trains

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Maryland Transit Administration Police plan to begin aprogram of random security checks at MARC train stations this Friday, usingbomb-sniffing dogs to screen passengers' luggage and packages to detectexplosives. Administration officials warned riders that delays could occur andurged passengers to allow extra time to board trains on the MARC’s Penn, Camden,and Brunswick lines.

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Lt. Col. John E. Gavrilis, chief of the MTA police, said thetighter security was not a response to a specific threat but part of a generaleffort to "target-harden" Maryland transit facilities. The effortcould be extended to Baltimore’s Metro and light rail stations  in the future. Gavrilis said the MTAhas been working with the federal Transportation Security Administration todesign the program and noted the agency has received a federal grant to hirepersonnel and to purchase equipment needed for the screenings.

Screenings could involve luggage, packages, or othercarry-on items. Police will rotate the random screenings among the variousstations in the MARC system.