Critical Asset Patrol officers at press conference
BART riders will notice extra security today and in the future, as the transit system steps up police presence following the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. While there has been no specific threat, BART is taking a number of steps to increase security out of an abundance of caution, Chief Communications Officer Linton Johnson said.
BART has postponed a training exercise that had been scheduled today for its Critical Asset Patrol Team -- a special group of officers whose expertise includes a counterterrorism focus. Extra officers are being brought in to supplement that team. In addition, transportation supervisors from throughout the agency are out and about in the system, noticeable in their bright green vests, to provide even more scrutiny.
As always, BART encourages riders to speak up if they notice any unusual behavior, unattended packages or anything suspicious. On the train, they can use the intercom to contact the train operator, or they can call BART police or in an emergency, 911 (see safety page link for numbers and additional info).
"If you see anything suspicious, please let us know," Johnson said. He noted that the entire workforce of BART employees -- nearly 3,500 people -- are watching throughout their individual areas. "But with 350,000 riders a day, that's another 700,000 eyes on the system as well, that can really help us to know what's going on," Johnson said.
Johnson said there was no specific timetable yet for how long the extra security will stay in place, but it would be "as long as we need it to feel comfortable."
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View a BARTtv video of the press conference with the officers.