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NYC transit agency unveils security plan

(The Associated Press circulated the following article by Frank Eltman on August 23.)

NEW YORK -- New York will install 1,000 surveillance cameras and 3,000 motion sensors in its sprawling network of subways and commuter rail stations as part of a $212 million security upgrade announced Tuesday.

The upgrade marks the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's largest financial commitment to its counterterrorism program. Although the agency approved a $591 million security plan in 2002, it had spent only a fraction of that until this new deal with Lockheed Martin.

MTA Executive Director Katherine Lapp rejected suggestions that the announcement was tied to last month's terrorist attacks in London that killed 52 people, saying planning for the upgrades has been going on for more than a year. Lockheed Martin was chosen as the prime contractor last week.

"We wanted to make sure that we did it right, that we got to a place where we are today. ... This is not something over the last month that we decided to accelerate," Lapp said.

An MTA spokesman said the entire system already has about 1,000 security cameras.

The security upgrades will be made to subway stations, bridges and tunnels operated by the MTA, and the Metro-North and Long Island Railroad commuter lines. None of the devices will be deployed in train cars or buses.

Citing security issues, officials would not detail where the cameras and sensors would be placed in the system, which has more than 700 subway and commuter rail stations.

Sophisticated computer software will be used to integrate information from the system and link it to new MTA police department mobile command centers, Lapp said. For example, alarms will be set off at the command centers if the system detects an unattended package on a subway platform.

Judy Marks, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, said installation of cameras will begin immediately and the company has a three-year contract to complete the project.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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