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WMATA, D.C. police and medical examiner seek way to deal quickly with rail suicides

Suicides are an unfortunate — but often unavoidable — reality in running train service through populated areas.

On Feb. 12, a man intentionally placed himself in the path of a train entering Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Dupont Circle Metrorail Station. Service on the Red Line was disrupted for more than four hours.

"While we can never minimize a tragedy such as the suicide incident last month, at the same time, we must return to normal rail service as soon as practical," said Carlton Sickles, chairman of WMATA’s Metro Board Safety Committee, in a prepared statement. "The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will assist us in realizing this goal.

WMATA’s Metro Transit Police Department, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office are expected to sign an MOU, which would create a framework under which Transit Police can deal with such incidents as expeditiously as possible.

The MOU’s details are yet to be finalized, but McDevitt said it will "seek to clarify the agencies’ missions so that we all may have improved coordination and cooperation to better handle a Metro emergency similar to the one in February."

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More News from 3/23/2001