Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak police’

Amtrak OIG Calls for Defining the Roles, Priorities of the Passenger Carrier’s Police Department

July 9, 2020

The Amtrak Office of Inspector General has called on the passenger carrier to define more precisely the role and priorities of its police department before it decides how large of a force to have.

The OIG report said determining the optimum size of the force and how it will be used will help managers determine if the Amtrak police force is being used efficiently and effectively.

Amtrak and its police force need to reach a consensus on those foundational issues, and then developed data-driven processes to determine the agency’s size and how its resources are allocated.

Amtrak Increasing Police Presence Aboard Trains

March 3, 2020

Amtrak is deploying more of its police officers aboard trains rather than concentrating them at stations.

The change in policing is said to have been prompted by an increase in petty crimes and assaults committed aboard trains.

The changes primarily affect trains operating in the Northeast Corridor.

“We really focused on getting more uniforms in front of people, which is the number one way we can increase safety,” said D.J. Stadtler, Amtrak’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

Last year Amtrak sought to reduce the number of officers by 20 percent in its police department but that move was blocked by Congress.

Congress directed Amtrak to maintain a force of 431 officers.

The reassignment of police officers is also said to be designed to protect critical railroad infrastructure.

Amtrak police responded to 5,700 criminal incidents in 2019, down from about 6,000 in 2018 but higher than the 4,100 incidents reported in 2017.

Much of the increase of incidents was reported aboard trains and many of the cases were alcohol-related.

Stecklair Named Amtrak Police Officer of Year for 2018

August 13, 2019

Dean Stecklair has been named the 2018 Amtrak Police Department Officer of the Year.

Based in Philadelaphia, Stecklair was recognized for his efforts in keeping passengers, employees and the public safe, Amtrak said in a news release.

Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman said Stecklair worked along with three other officers, to keep an overdose victim alive in one case that he helped handle.

In another case, Stecklair responded to a report of local police searching the railroad for burglary suspects who had stolen numerous firearms from a local gun shop.

He observed one of the suspects and pursued him on foot through a residential area. The suspect was apprehended, and 24 stolen firearms were recovered.

Stecklair’s efforts were commended by members of the local police department, who stated that he was instrumental in temporarily stopping railroad traffic in the area, helping establish a perimeter to locate the criminal and securing the area to keep local citizens safe.

Joining the Amtrak police force in 2010, in 2018, Stecklair completed 336 incident reports, answered 2,650 calls for service, made 90 criminal arrests, received two Lifesaving Awards, an Exceptional Achievement Award, a Customer Service Award and was named Officer of the Month for May.

Amtrak Planning to Cut Size of its Police Force

May 8, 2019

The labor union representing Amtrak police officers is warning that the passenger carrier intends to cut the force by 20 percent over the next three years.

The union said Amtrak Police Chief Neil Trugman told it that the force would be reduced from 452 to 369 by 2022.

The reduction will apparently be achieved through attrition and no layoffs are being planned.

However, William Gonzalez, president of Amtrak’s Fraternal Order of Police, said that retirements alone will not enable the carrier to reach its stated goal.

He also said the staff cuts “will jeopardize the safety and security for the passengers and employees.”

An Amtrak spokesman said the company is “currently evaluating the deployment of our Amtrak Police Department staff to ensure we have appropriate staffing levels for the safety and security of our customers as employees.”

The spokesman said Amtrak expects, though to increase the presence of officers on board trains.

OLI Announces Plans for Rail Safety Week

February 16, 2019

Operation Lifesaver plans to observe Rail Safety Week between Sept. 22 and 29, 2019, in the United States and Canada.

OLI affiliates in both countries will conduct a week-long series of events to encourage safe behavior near railroad tracks.

“Our goal is to get to zero incidents — zero fatalities and zero injuries. The driving force for this organization is saving lives,” said OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh in a statement.

The group noted that 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured annually because of unsafe behavior around tracks and trains.

In 2018, the rail safety week media campaign #STOPTrackTragedies, generated nearly 3.7 million YouTube views and 18 million impressions on social and traditional media in the United States and Canada.

Those videos featured personal stories of people affected by grade crossing or trespassing incidents.

During this year’s safety week Amtrak police will work with more than 500 police and sheriff’s departments on Operation Clear Track, in which law enforcement officers will write citations and issue warnings to crossing violators. The officers also distribute cards with railroad safety tips to the public.

Capitol Limited Stowaway Charged With Acquiring Travel Vouchers With a Stolen Credit Card

October 20, 2016

Police arrested a man in Pittsburgh who authorities said stowed away aboard Amtrak’s Capitol Limited using travel vouchers acquired with a stolen credit card.

amtrak-capitol-limitedAmtrak police arrested Javon Damian Jones who appeared before a judge in Pittsburgh on Oct. 19.

Police are unsure of Jones’ hometown, but said the last place they were able to determine that he lived was in a community shelter in Cleveland.

Although police have yet to disclose details about why Jones was detained, authorities said they had been watching him as part of a continuing criminal investigation.

Jones is alleged to have used nearly $7,000 in vouchers that he acquired with a stolen credit card.

Police said Jones made a number of trips between Chicago and Washington, traveling alone and without luggage in a sleeping car room.

Jones was charged with receiving stolen property and being a stowaway. Police said additional charges are pending.

See Something? Now You Can Text Amtrak Police

October 18, 2013

If you’ve ridden Amtrak in recent years, you are probably familiar with its mantra of “see something, say something.” The Amtrak police department recently began accepting text messages from those who wish to report. suspicious activity, crimes or emergencies

The “APD11 Txt-a-Tip,”  program will connect to the Amtrak police department’s National Communications Center via SMS text messaging.

“Contacting the Amtrak police department by text is another tactic in our multi-layered approach to protecting America’s Railroad,” said Police Chief Polly Hanson in a news release. “Our passengers and frontline employees provide an extra line of defense by being an additional set of eyes and ears while in or around our stations, trains, facilities or right-of-way, and now they can report crime or suspicious activity in a convenient and discreet method, by text message.”

“Txt-a-Tip” will follow similar response procedures that are in place when a report is called into the Amtrak police 800 number. Passengers can make reports by sending a text to APD11 from a smartphone or to 27311 from a standard cell phone.

When Amtrak police receive a text the sender will receive a message acknowledging the report, and will then be connected to a live Amtrak Police communications officer who will correspond directly via text message to learn more about the situation and determine the appropriate action.

Amtrak said the initiative is an effort to provide additional communication options for passengers and employees who are deaf or may have hearing loss, allowing easy and efficient communication of emergency information to the police department.