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New Balance Outlet Metro begins random checks of

Metro begins random checks of train passengers’ bags

A handful of Metro Transit Police, bomb sniffing dogs and Transportation Security Administration officers hastily set up inspection tables near the entrances to the Braddock Road and College Park stations, pulling aside customers with bags large enough to carry an explosive devic New Balance Outlet e.

Law enforcement officials have uncovered two alleged threats against Metro in recent weeks. Public transit systems around the world are considered a prime target for terrorists seeking to inflict mass casualties. On Tuesday, police in Rome found a bomb under the seat of a subway car. They later determined that it was defective.

Metro’s bag inspections averaged about 30 seconds but ran as long as eight minutes in the case of one man whose bag tested positive for a chemical used in explosives. The bag was subsequently X rayed. Police questioned the man, who they said was a government worker, and released him. “I’m going to work,” the man said curtly as he strode to the fare gates.

The explosive traces “could have been from a gun or residue from target shooting if he went to a firing range,” said Lt. Doug Durham of Metro Transit Police’s Special Operations unit. Metro police have said that although false positives do occur with the hand held explosives detection devices, follow up inspections using X ray machines or bomb sniffing dogs should minimize cases in which bags are opened unnecessarily.

Civil liberties advocates said that the inspections, which were announced five days ago, could be challenged in Washington area courts on the grounds they violate the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches.

“You are New Balance Outlet being required to stop. Lots of people will miss trains. You have to allow your bag to be swabbed and stand there while they put a piece of paper in the machine,” said Arthur Spitzer, legal director for American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital.

The ACLU raised objections this week in a letter to Metro’s general manager and board of directors.

Metro officials maintain that the screenings are constitutional and are currently conducted in Boston, New Jersey and New York, where they have been upheld in court.

A few commuters were taken aback by the inspections and initially declined to undergo them until they were informed that they were mandatory for entering the station to board trains, but no one approached by the police at Braddock Road refused altogether. Metro says that people are free to reject the bag inspection, but that if they do so, they will not be allowed to take the bag into the station.

Metro officials said police may set up searches at more than one entrance or use other methods to prevent passengers from simply going to another entrance. “We have other alternatives we won’t disclose,” Durham said.

Sgt. Scott Whitfield, of the Special Operations unit, was posted at the Braddock Road Station entranc New Balance Outlet e Tuesday morning, summoning customers for inspection.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” he told one woman. “We are doing random bag searches. It will take about 45 seconds of your time.”

The woman started to walk away, but Whitfield told her that it was necessary to enter the station with her handbag. “I guess I will, then,” the woman said.

She moved to a nearby table, where two TSA agents swiped her bag and put it through a reader. “Have a wonderful day,” one of the agents said. “Happy holidays.”

In one instance, Whitfield called over a Spanish speaking Metro employee to assist a woman who did not understand English.

Whitfield said he was counting bags in order to pick which ones to inspect and ensure that the searches were random, adding that he was given a number for the count just five minutes before the inspections began. Metro declined to divulge that number for security reasons.

Some passengers were visibly angry at losing even a few seconds in their rush to work and questioned the value of the inspections. Agency for International Development, regularly rides the Metro from Braddock Road to Foggy Bottom. “It’s annoying, because I missed my train that was on the platform,” she said.

TSA officers checked her purse and a Christmas present she was carrying. Heuschel was perplexed because the officers didn’t look inside the items. “Frankly, I don’t know what they did over here,” she said.

Other riders were not bothered by the inspections, and some welcomed them.

“When we come here, we want to know we are just as safe as going on the airplane,” said Mike Simons, who had his satchel inspected before heading to work at Pentagon City.

Metro police urged patience with the inspections, saying they hope the checks will deter potential bombers by creating a risk that they will be discovered. But they acknowledge that there are limitations to how thoroughly they can in New Balance Outlet spect bags in an open transit system.

“This is mass transit it’s not a sterile environment like an airport,” Durham said.

Ultimately, Metro relies on passengers to notice and point out suspicious behavior, officials said.

“The whole point is raising passenger awareness,” said Jeff C. McKay, a Metro board member from Fairfax County. “It’s a lot more graphic to see a bag search than to hear an announcement.”

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New Balance Outlet Metro begins random bag inspec

Metro begins random bag inspections

Metro began random inspections of passengers’ bags a New Balance Outlet nd packages this morning, five days after first announcing the checks. The searches, which were at Braddock Road and College Park, have stopped.

Dawn Heuschel, who works for the United States Agency for International Development, rides the Metro from Braddock Road to Foggy Bottom stations.

TSA officers checked her purse and a Christmas present she was carrying. Heuschel, a regular Metro rider, was perplexed because the officers didn’t look inside. “Frankly I don’t know what they did over there,” she said.

The inspections are happening at two confirmed Metro stations so far, but can also occur at Metrobus stops.

“Excuse me ma’am. We are doing random bag searches. It will take about 45 seconds of your time,” an officer said to a woman with a large handbag entering Braddock Road station. At first the woman said “no” but the officer made clear it was necessary to enter the station. “I guess I will then,” the woman said.

She moved to a nearby table where two TSA agents swiped her bag and put it through a reader. “Have a wonderful day,” the officer said. “Happy holidays.”

Officers at the same station got a positive result on a man’s bag and shot it with radiation.

“It could have been from a gun, or residue from target shooting if he went to a firing range,” said Lt. Doug Durham of the Special Operations unit of Metro Transit Police.

A police sergeant interviewed the man, who was let go. The search on that man took about 8 minutes. He wouldn’t give his name. “I’m going to work” he said, clearly irritated.

I New Balance Outlet n announcing the plan last week, the transit agency said the New Balance Outlet goal was to try to protect from attack by having police using explosives screening equipment and bomb sniffing dogs pull aside every third person at locations where checks are taking place. If people refuse the inspection, they will be barred from entering the station or boarding a bus with the item. They will occur at various spots among the system’s 86 rail stations and 12,000 bus stops.

Two rights groups have launched an online petition against the searches. (Previously: Metro to launch bag inspections; Dr. Is this causing big delays, or are you not even noticing any hiccups? What are the searches like? How are people reacting? Tell us below, and we’ll help get the information out to your fellow commuters. And tweet what you see with the hashtag wmatasearch.

Screeners began random searches this morning at Braddock Road Station. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

An approaching passenger is diverted to a security check at Braddock Road Station. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

Metro bomb technician Anthony Montgomery performs a digital x ray of a passenger’s handbag at Braddock Road Station. (Gerald Martineau/Post)

If you are going to start searching bags, then you have to do everyone. Then you will have a lot of pissed off people that resort to driving instead because the Metro is already messed up enough without adding this extra delay.

Do you really want to search everyone that goes through the Metro station causing a HUGE bouts of delays and annoyance? If less people use Metro, then less money, and then a failing Metro system. Why can’t we be like NYC’s metro system? Its on time, works, and gets you where you need to go without a lot of extra bullshit.

All a potential attacker has to do, should s/he even pick a station that actually has a check going, is leave the station and either wait until the checks stop, or go to another station usually just a few stops away. Or, better yet, just sign on to Twitter for all the reports from variou New Balance Outlet s area residents and news agencies, and s/he’ll know which stations to avoid in the first place.

This is not only a violation of our rights, it is a waste of money and resources that are already scarce at WMATA. Those officers should be patrolling stations and trains, looking for suspicious activity, not to mention deterring the real crimes that already happen on Metro, like theft and (less often, thankfully) assault.

Terrorists aren’t stopped by random bag searches. They are stopped by good, old fashioned detective work before they reach the actual point of attack, and vigilant police and watchful bystanders who recognize suspicious behavior and act on it. Metro has in the past year or more, suffered extreme issues related to fare hikes just about every month, extremely poor service from metro employees at the stations who really don’t give a rats behind about anything and often growl at you if you so much as approach them for, I dunno, information, elevators and escalators that seem to keep an entire cottaqe industry of repair people gainfully employed and train cars that have been allowed to deteriorate so much that there is constant delay. On top, Metro police couldn’t find a horse in a garbage can. My favorite is the announcement periodically through the stations about a telephone number to call for Metro Police if you need help. Really people? Someone in trouble is going to attempt to remember a 9 digit telephone number in crisis? You have people running frantically to catch their trains all day long and you’re going to stop them to search every other bag? With the exception of tourists, people will simply stop riding this train wreck. In a matter of days, the Post will run a story about an imposter who pretends to be a Metro employee, “checks” someone’s bag and runs off with their stuff. This is DC folks. They can’t prevent ordinary crime in metro stations; they can’t even prevent people from bringing food on the trains.

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