Friday, April 18, 2008

Transportation Safety and Security

As a security consultant who works internationally, I have access to several secure national security websites, along with many open-source newswire services related to global security ans safety. Several noteworthy events hit my wire in the last day and involve transportation. I’d like to share some interesting ones with you.


The US Department of Transportation will require the freight railroads there to run trains carrying toxic and dangerous materials onto the safest and most secure routes. The railways will be required to commence comprehensive safety and security risk assessments as of June 1, 2008, and implement new route plans by September 2009. The railroads will have to consider information provided by local communities, in correlation with a minimum of 27 risk factors in their analysis that includes population density. We can only keep our fingers crossed in Canada that a major incident will not occur, as no such requirements are in sight. You can read about and see real life examples of what can go wrong. I trust my Langley neighbors will never have to deal with this.

Bus Accidents

We’ve all seen those tourist motorcoach and other such buses involved in some horrendous accidents near Whistler or on the open roads of Alberta. This article geared towards motorcoach operators and managers recommend the common sense things to do to perhaps lessen the impact of one of these incidents. Let’s hope the “Freeze Your Documents” advice doesn’t include the use of a shredder.

Shocking Incidents

Lastly, the international wire was abuzz with news from our very own Metro Vancouver transit police that are accused of using their tasers on at least two fare cheaters. The only thing that makes me more uncomfortable about this whole scene is that one report I read suggested that these transit police be stripped of their tasers until an investigation is complete. As we have armed this police force, I’d like to see them retain the tasers for now, as this sort of poor judgment could lead to something worse. While I am always pro-law enforcement and support a professional transit police force in our area, I’m tired of not seeing them South of the Fraser, except with four cops in a car at a gas station or restaurant. Truly that is the only times I’ve seen them outside of downtown Vancouver. If they are TRANSIT police, why don’t they ride the system as in other cities around the world? Why are so many patrol cars required and why is it always two to four officers in a car? Gee, couldn't the B.C. Civil Liberties Association find a better phrase to describe this other than "shocking abuse"? Its similar to the teens getting stoned on the white rock, wouldn't you say?

I like Portland, OR. They have unarmed uniformed security officers that ride the rails and blend in by sitting in the light rail and MAX line cars. When they spot a problematic person they radio ahead to armed Transit Police who meet them at the next station to effect the arrest. Sounds like some smart and cost effective deployment of manpower to me!

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