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Transit Security: Best Practices for Small and Medium Sized Bus Operators. Virginia Transit Association Spring Conference May 29, 2003 Eva Lerner-Lam and Mark Stewart Palisades Security Consulting Team Special Challenges For Transit.

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transit security best practices for small and medium sized bus operators

Transit Security: Best Practices for Small and Medium Sized Bus Operators

Virginia Transit AssociationSpring Conference

May 29, 2003

Eva Lerner-Lam and Mark Stewart

Palisades Security Consulting Team

special challenges for transit
Special Challenges For Transit
  • “Open” nature of transit makes it an attractive target
  • Multi-jurisdictional environments require aggressive coordination and cooperation
  • Multi-modal interactions can increase vulnerability
types of threats against transit
Types of Threats Against Transit
  • Armed Assault
  • Hostage Taking
  • Chemical Release On Board
  • Explosive on Board
  • Chemical Outside
  • Explosive/Sabotage Outside
security breaches on public transportation in the u s
Security Breaches on Public Transportation in the U.S.
  • August 6, 1927 Two bombs in two NYC Subway stations
  • December 7, 1993 Colin Ferguson kills 6, injures 17 on LIRR at rush hour
  • December 15 and 21, 1994Edward Leary explodes two bombs on the NYC subway system, injuring 53 people
  • October 9, 1995 "Sons of the Gestapo" kills 1, injures 65 on sabotaged Amtrak Sunset Limited in Arizona desert
  • November 27, 1998 Deranged passenger on a Seattle Metro bus kills bus operator, one passenger and injures 32 others.
  • May 2, 2001Bus hijacker in LA crashes into a minivan, killing the minivan driver and injuring seven others.
good security is good security
Good Security is Good Security
  • Non-terrorist
  • Terrorist

[Opposite is also true…]


Key Strategies

Vulnerability Assessments




Deter & Mitigate

Deter & Mitigate

Evacuation,Recovery &Continuity



telephone interviews
Telephone Interviews
  • Transit Security Chiefs interviewed, May 2003:
    • Capital Metro, Austin
    • Greater Cleveland Transit Authority
    • Indygo, Indianapolis
    • Twin Cities Metro Transit, Minneapolis-St. Paul
    • Portland Tri-Met
    • San Antonio Transit
    • Santa Clara Transit
    • Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority
    • Tampa Hartline Transit
interview questions
Interview Questions
  • What actions have you taken since 9/11 that have proven cost-effective in preventing or minimizing threats against your customers and employees?
  • Tax revenues are down and budgets are getting squeezed—how has this affected your ability to react to security threats since 9/11?
  • What lessons have you learned?
cost effective actions
Cost-Effective Actions
  • Attended FTA “Connecting Communities Forums”
  • Utilized National Transit Institute resources
  • Used FTA grants for drills
cost effective actions con d
Cost-Effective Actions, con’d.
  • Operations
    • Checkpoints during peak pm hours at major transfers
    • Vary routine patrol tactics depending on DHS alerts
    • Get on local agency emergency call-out lists
    • K-9 units
cost effective actions con d11
Cost-Effective Actions, con’d.
  • Operations, con’d.
    • Organize and analyze security data for trend analyses to support counter-terrorism activities
    • Provide phones with toll-free 911 at transit stations
    • Leveraged use of digital cameras and video surveillance equipment
    • Smart card access/credentialing programs
cost effective actions con d12
Cost-Effective Actions, con’d.
  • Personnel
    • Undercover officer programs (VRE example)
    • Familiarity with and adoption of federal Incident Command System(ICS)
    • Rework existing security and emergency response protocols per FTA Color-Coded Guidelines
    • Conduct Tabletop exercises
    • Visit/talk with other transit properties for best practices
cost effective actions con d13
Cost-Effective Actions, con’d.
  • Personnel, con’d.
    • Create opportunities for bus personnel to meet with sheriff’s department and other emergency response agencies
    • New employee orientation: meet chief of police and commander of contracted security
    • Keep fare inspection force apprised of new security awareness procedures
    • Take free courses offered by some police departments (Personal protection, workplace violence, road rage, “Verbal Judo”)
cost effective actions con d14
Cost-Effective Actions, con’d.
  • Inter-agency
    • SWAT and Special Operations briefings to bus operators and maintenance workers
    • Participate on city and county disaster planning committees
    • Contribute buses to live drills by other public agencies
cost effective actions con d15
Cost-Effective Actions, con’d.
  • Customers
    • Focus on awareness and provide “if this happens…then do this…”information
impact of budget cuts on security
Impact of Budget Cuts on Security
  • Very little “new” funding
  • Security budgets generally holding steady, despite falling tax revenues and fares
  • Agencies are using overtime strategically
  • Leveraging relationships with other public agencies
  • Leveraging technology deployed for other purposes
  • “Have to be creative”
lessons learned
Lessons Learned
  • Generally-held beliefs
    • Security is everyone’s job (same as Safety)
    • Security is a moving target and threats seek out your weakest points; have to be flexible and adapt quickly and efficiently
    • Every day is different
    • For transit security personnel, 9/11 should not have been a wake-up call — security focus should always have been there
lessons learned con d
Lessons Learned, con’d.
  • Do:
    • Stay on top of things, encourage pro-active attitudes
    • Take the time to do things right
    • Develop good working relationships with first responders
    • Work closely with labor unions on security procedures
    • Emphasize prevention
lessons learned con d19
Lessons Learned, con’d.
  • Do:
    • Pay attention to details; make sure every security building block is solid before moving on and counting on it
    • Get buy-in from everyone, from bus cleaning crews to upper management
    • Look at the DHS/FTA color coding levels and adopt plans to handle each raised level of security
    • Forge good relationships with local safety services that you rely on (get them to be advocates for you)
lessons learned con d20
Lessons Learned, con’d.
  • Don’t:
    • be afraid to try different things
    • settle for “that’s the way we always did it”
    • believe in “If it isn’t broken don’t fix it”
    • forget that everything changes; you have to plan exactly what to do, under every circumstance
    • expect lots of funding
    • think it can’t happen to you
in addition
In addition…
  • Bookmark websites:
    • Other local and regional emergency websites
in addition22
In addition…
  • Radio and wireless communications
    • Integrate across agencies and jurisdictions


    • Ensure redundancy
  • Breaking News: Use of Weblogs (“BLOGS”) for your security team
must do s
“Must Do’s”
  • Update and refresh e-mails and telephone numbers on desktop computers and directories on handhelds, including cellphones
  • Bookmark key websites
  • Include your IT staff in your security meetings
  • Drill and practice!
in summary
In Summary
  • Security threats are real, whether terrorist-related or not
  • Good security is good security (“Security is Job #1”)
  • Build--and leverage--strong relationships with other public agencies
  • Pay attention to details and be flexible
  • Involve everyone in your security planning
downloads and url s
Downloads and URL’s