Moscow subway bombing spurs more security on Metro, other U.S. transit systems

Washington-area fire and rescue crews carried out a training exercise Monday in the RFK Stadium parking lot designed to simulate a bus bombing with casualties.
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Metro stepped up security Monday in the wake of the Moscow subway bombings, sending transit police and bomb-sniffing dogs on random sweeps through rail stations and yards and conducting "high-visibility" patrols.

"When we opened the Metro system this morning, we did so with heightened security," acting Metro Transit Police Chief Jeri Lee said in a statement. "We remain an open system, and we do what we can to be as secure as possible."

Lee said the transit agency will maintain the heightened security "at least through the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit scheduled in Washington in a few weeks, and we are partnering with federal and local law enforcement for security related to that summit," Lee said. The summit is scheduled for April 12-13.

The Maryland Transit Administration announced that its police force will conduct random sweeps of commuter trains, stations and parking lots.

The federal government did not immediately make any recommendations for increased security in mass transit systems, but authorities were monitoring the situation, a U.S. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

In New York, caravans of police vehicles were dispatched to transit hubs, and officers assigned to subways overnight were held in place so they overlapped with the day tour. Special units, distinguished by their black uniforms, helmets and body armor, also were assigned to transit facilities.

Atlanta's public transit system said its police department was increasing the number of officers and patrols throughout the system.

In Chicago, the city police department's public transportation section and Chicago Transit Authority personnel were watching closely for any suspicious activity or behavior, CTA spokeswoman Kim Myles said. Representatives of transit agencies in Boston and Philadelphia said they thought that their normal security practices were vigilant enough to protect the public.

On Monday, Metro conducted a long-planned simulation: of an explosion aboard a bus in the parking lot of RFK Stadium, the discovery of a second explosive device in a bus garage and reports of additional devices on other buses.

The transit agency is conducting a series of anti-terrorism drills to test regional response to emergencies in the transit system. Last weekend, another drill simulated an explosion in an underground subway.

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