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SEPTA demonstrates new state-of-the-art explosives detection equipment, K-9 units trained in explosives detection

(SEPTA issued the following news release on February 8.)

PHILADELPHIA -- Providing riders with a safe and secure transportation system is an important goal for SEPTA and its Transit Police Department. As part of its continuing efforts to secure the system, SEPTA has made an important investment in new explosives detection equipment and made additions to its K-9 patrol teams. SEPTA demonstrated the abilities of the new equipment and K-9 teams during a demonstration at Market East Station today.

The new explosives detection equipment is being deployed along with the K-9 units to reduce on the time it takes to screen any unattended and suspicious packages left on the SEPTA system, and with greater efficiency and safety. This can also decrease the time that SEPTA services are delayed by a false alarm and improve the time that it would take to respond to an actual emergency.

If the explosives detection equipment or a K-9 team detects something that could be an explosive SEPTA immediately calls on the bomb squads deployed by police departments throughout the region for assistance.

"It is important to us that our riders are safe and secure when using SEPTA," said SEPTA General Manager Faye Moore. "Subsequently, we are using the latest technology along with good common sense to respond to the heightened security needs of our massive transit system."

SEPTA is the first transit agency in the United States to acquire the new SIEGMA 3E3 explosives detection system. The suitcase-borne system is designed to detect and confirm whether an object or container carries a select group of dangerous explosives with a probability of 97.75% and false negative and false positive rates of nearly 2.25%. The HiEnergy equipment incorporates a process which activates a selected target with neutrons causing the contents to emit back gamma rays that contain unique signatures from which chemical formulas used in explosives are derived.

SEPTA has purchased two of the $300,000.00 machines through a Homeland Security appropriation issued by the state of Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

SEPTA has also joined with other transit agencies throughout the nation to acquire and train K-9 units through the expansion of the National Explosive Detection Canine Team Program headed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA has certified three SEPTA K-9 teams in explosives detection and four additional teams are undergoing a 10-week explosives detection training course at the Philadelphia Police Academy while one dog is being trained by the TSA.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

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