CHICAGO – During today’s morning and evening commutes, Amtrak Police, Metra Police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel and law enforcement officers from more than 100 federal, state, local and rail police agencies are being deployed at more than 100 passenger rail stations in Illinois and the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Indiana in an exercise of expanded counterterrorism and incident response capabilities.
The multi-force security surge across Chicagoland and in two other states is not in response to any threat or incident. Rather, today’s deployment is part of Operation ALERTS (Allied Law Enforcement for Rail and Transit Security), a coordinated effort involving activities such as heightened station patrols, increased security presence onboard trains, explosives detection canine sweeps, and random passenger bag inspections at unannounced locations.
“Operation ALERTS will enhance the readiness and communication capabilities of hundreds of police and security officials stationed in some of the busiest rail passenger areas in the U.S., ” said Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor. “Our law enforcement partners in this deployment represent first responder agencies that will protect and defend the railways during any type of emergency or potential threat.”
Over the past few years, terrorist attacks, attempts and plots around the globe have specifically targeted passenger rail and mass transit. The security implications of this activity in the United States have spurred the formation of a strong coalition of transportation and law enforcement agencies.