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Amtrak security program recognized as ‘Gold Standard’ by TSA

(Source: Amtrak press release (PDF), April 17, 2012)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amtrak is being recognized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) today for earning the federal agency’s highest rating of Gold Standard on the railroad’s most recent Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancements (BASE). This designation recognizes Amtrak’s dedication to building a strong security program.

Of the areas assessed, Amtrak received high marks for its establishment of security and emergency awareness programs both internally and externally.

“Amtrak is dedicated to taking all appropriate actions to become the nation’s most secure railroad by identifying and minimizing risks and maximizing passenger and employee safety,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman.

“As America’s Railroad, we want to provide every passenger with a safe and secure ride with constant security improvements and eternal vigilance,” said Amtrak board chairman Tom Carper. “We are able to do this thanks to the tremendous partnerships we have developed with federal, state, local and freight railroad law enforcement and commuter rail and transit agencies.”

“The security of our system is our top priority and we work hard to make sure that we have the people, training, technology and the intelligence we need to keep our system safe and secure,” said John O’Connor, Amtrak Vice President and Chief of Police.

The TSA BASE program is designed to establish a security standard for individual system security programs and assess progress. This voluntary comprehensive review of rail and mass transit agency security programs focuses on multiple categories identified by the rail and transit community as fundamentals for a sound security program. They include a review of topics such as an agency’s security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs.

Random security measures such as VIPR Operations conducted jointly with TSA, the Operation RAILSAFE nationwide exercise to test counterterrorism and incident response capabilities along tracks and at stations used by Amtrak, passenger baggage screenings and its canine explosive detection program, which now includes 50 teams of which 19 dogs have special vapor wake training, were highlighted as leading to the success of the Amtrak security program. In addition, Amtrak’s public outreach efforts through programs such as Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security (PASS) and safety videos were also acknowledged.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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