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Railroad police appropriately enforce employee-related policies, USDOT says

The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (IG) recently determined that railroad police appropriately enforce employee-related policies, according to the Association of American Railroads. The Senate Commerce Committee requested the IG assessment in response to rail labor union officials' allegations that railroad police inappropriately enforce personnel policies.

The IG determined that out of 136,808 railroad police cases last year, rail employees were the subject in less than 1 percent. Most cases involved trespassing (65 percent), burglary (12 percent), vandalism (10 percent) and theft (8 percent). Of the reviewed employee-related cases, the IG found that only a handful didn't reflect an "appropriate, prudent application" of police resources.

The IG also determined that railroads' practice of using their police to investigate Federal Employers' Liability Act-related injury claims is an appropriate use of law enforcement.

However, railroads could benefit from guidelines governing the conduct of employee investigations, employee-related matters requiring police involvement, and police activity data collection and maintenance, according to the IG. Of nine railroads surveyed by USDOT, seven did not have employee investigation policies and procedures in place to ensure uniformity, consistency and fairness, IG said.

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More News from 11/23/2004