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Metra security: $6.5 million in federal stimulus funds to guard against terror attacks

(The following story by Jon Hilkevitch and Richard Wronski appeared on the Chicago Tribune website on July 30, 2009.)

CHICAGO — More than $6.5 million in federal stimulus funds was awarded Wednesday to increase transit security and prevent terrorist attacks on the CTA and Metra systems.

The grants will beef up teams of uniformed and undercover officers assigned to prevent terrorism; add canine teams that can detect explosives; and deploy more bomb-detection equipment that can be taken aboard trains and buses and used to screen stations, officials said.

About $4.9 million was awarded to the Chicago Police Department for its CTA mass-transit unit, and more than $1.6 million to Metra by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The money is part of a $78 million grant program paid for by the economic stimulus efforts of President Barack Obama's administration.

It will be used to hire about 240 new police officers at 15 transit systems in the U.S., said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

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