Sept. 3, 2015
I would like to thank TSA Administrator Pete Neffenger, Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson, and Chief Ron Pavlik of the Washington Metro Area Transit Police for joining me here today. We’re here at Union Station to talk about rail safety. Rail safety is a shared endeavor between federal, state, and local authorities as well as the rail industry itself. An important part of rail safety is on display here today.
Here at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station and at rail stations across the country, we are today participating in Operation RAILSAFE. Operation RAILSAFE is a nationwide initiative started by the Amtrak Police Department, the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department, the New York City Police Department, and TSA that provides enhanced, visible law enforcement and security presence at train stations and along trains on selected high volume travel days. Today is the fifth of Operation RAILSAFE events this year.
At Union Station today, like other stations across the country, you see increased uniform patrols, explosive detection sweeps and random bag inspections. You’ll see patrols by TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams or VIPR Teams, which are specialized teams with Federal Air Marshals, Behavior Detection Officers, and explosives experts. You’ll also see Amtrak’s Canine Explosive Detection Teams as well. In fact, some are standing here with me today. Meet Summer, who is a Marine Corps Veteran and a Combat Veteran, along with her handler, Sgt. Jones formerly of the United States Air Force.
Admiral Neffenger and Chief Hanson will have more to say about what we are doing in the area of rail security. I have great confidence in the safety of rail travel. I’m a big fan of rail travel. It is my favorite way to go home to New Jersey. I am boarding the Acela right after this press conference to do that. As I have said previously, as a native New Yorker, I have ridden almost every single subway line in the city of New York. My great-grandfather was a Pullman porter with the Pennsylvania railroad for 44 years, from 1908-1952, and a member of Philip Randolph’s union.
This Thursday, before Labor Day weekend, we encourage all Americans to use public transportation by land, sea, and air and have a safe trip. Americans should know that your Department of Homeland Security and our partners here are hard at work to be sure that that’s the case.
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson participates in a media availability at Washington, D.C.’s Union Station with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator Peter Neffenger and Amtrak Chief of Police Polly Hanson to highlight safety and security efforts related to our Nation’s passenger rail system.
(Photo credit: Barry Bahler, DHS)
To view and download high resolution images from yesterday’s event and Operation RAILSAFE, please visit here.