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Where is Security on the Red Line & Metrolink?

By David Kennedy
Published: Thursday, August 10, 2006, at 09:14AM

I took the Red Line and Metrolink to work this morning after a long hiatus. I work outside downtown and for a couple of years it was very convenient to take Metrolink. When my wife had twins earlier this year, I needed more flexibility over my schedule, so for a couple of months I was driving again.

Recently, I noticed access to the parking structure at the MTA building was changed. I assumed this was in response to the bombings in Spain a couple of years ago. So I figured I'd see some stepped up security on the Red Line and Metrolink this morning. I was wrong.

I enter the 7th & Metro Red Line station at 5:25 a.m. I get to Union Station shortly thereafter. Right away, you can see there is zero security presence. Anyone can walk right off the street onto a Red Line train. Same with Union Station. Anyone can walk right into the station and right onto a Metrolink train. It appears that if you have nefarious plans, just arrive before the security detail shows up(!).

Last year, I observed county sheriffs on Metrolink trains in the afternoon. They did a very effective job of policing the train. However, the situation on the Red Line is completely different. It is very rare there is any kind of security presence and more often than not, it is pretty lackadaisical. Over the years, it is extremely rare that I'm challenged to show I've paid my fare. I often see pairs of MTA security officers in Union Station. However, these officers seem poorly trained, unmotivated and disengaged. Occasionally, I've asked them routine questions about Union Station or the Red Line and I've never gotten useful responses from them. I really don't see these officers performing any worthwhile service. Most of the time, they just seem to be hanging out.

In light of the news this morning of foiled terrorist plots in London, I think it behooves security officials to close these gaps in security. Perhaps, I'm wrong. Perhaps, there is more going on than is apparent. I sincerely hope so.

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