By City News Service
A counterterrorism security exercise was being conducted Friday at rail stations in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas as part of a nationwide effort dubbed Operation RAIL SAFE.
"This gives us an opportunity to collaborate with other security professionals," said Nico Melendez of the Transportation Security Administration. "But this is not in response to any particular threat or incident."
The effort, being conducted during the morning and evening commutes, brings together TSA and Amtrak personnel, along with law enforcement officers from federal, state, local, rail and transit police agencies, Melendez said.
The security officers were being deployed at selected passenger rail and transit stations to practice counterterrorism and incident-response capabilities, Melendez said.
Operation RAIL SAFE - the acronym stands for Regional Alliance Including Local, State and Federal Efforts - is a coordinated effort involving activities such as heightened station patrols, increased security presence aboard trains, explosives detection canine sweeps and random passenger bag inspections at unannounced locations, Melendez said.
RAIL SAFE is part of a routine effort by rail and transit partners across the nation to flexibly exercise resources and coordination, Melendez said.
Passengers would likely notice an increased presence of federal and local agencies in some rail and transit stations during the morning and afternoon commutes, Melendez said.