Following last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 dead and hundreds of others wounded, U.S. transit agencies have stepped up security measures.
Among agencies that announced tighter security yesterday is the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which has upped the number of patrols, K9 sweeps and random bag checks and screenings for explosives across its system.
WMATA announced its beefed-up security actions following news yesterday of a video from the terrorist group the Islamic State warning of similar attacks on Washington, D.C. The group claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris.
The additional patrols began Friday evening and will continue for an unspecified period of time, WMATA officials said in a press release. At the same time, the agency’s police department has more than 20 K9 teams performing security sweeps in and around rail stations and other critical infrastructure.
Additionally, WMATA’s police force and local and federal law enforcement partners have implemented several other countermeasures that “are not visible to the traveling public,” agency officials said.
At a news conference yesterday, WMATA’s Police Chief Ron Pavlik said that the agency also would increase monitoring of its closed-circuit security footage.
“In light of the events in Paris you can never be too careful,” Pavlik said, according to The Washington Post. “Although there’s no credible threat here [in] the United States, we can’t turn a blind eye to the events that occurred in Paris.”
For its part, Amtrak is deploying extra K9 units, uniformed personnel and long guns, according to the paper.
Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last week directed state agencies, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), to be on a heightened state of alert.
Additional personnel at these agencies have been deployed at high-density areas and large public gatherings, Cuomo’s staffers said in a press release.
PANYNJ police have also increased security at bridges, tunnels, rail, the World Trade Center and elsewhere.