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New York's MTA to bolster counterterrorism efforts


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will hire 46 new police officers to boost counterterrorism capabilities at Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station and throughout the Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road and Staten Island Railway systems, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday.

The agency plans to spend about $3 million to hire the officers. That amount is included in the MTA's 2016 final proposed budget, which is scheduled for consideration by the agency's board next month, according to a press release issued by Cuomo's office.

"The MTA Police Department is a robust force of more than 700 officers dedicated to protecting our region’s rail transportation, and these dozens of new officers will bolster our regular counterterrorism patrols of high-visibility terminals," said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast in the press release. "Our officers are well aware that they are protecting a vital public service, and their presence in major train stations serves as a visible deterrent as well as a decisive factor in quickly countering any threat."

All members of the MTA Police Department have been trained in techniques to counter active shooters, such as those who have been implicated in recent terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world, Cuomo's staffers said.

Instead of waiting for heavily-armed emergency service unit teams to arrive, officers are taught to immediately engage, pin down and neutralize any potential threat to minimize casualties.

Additionally, more than 90 percent of frontline personnel in all MTA operating agencies have been trained in how to protect customers and themselves from an active shooter. Workers on MTA New York City Transit subways and buses, the Staten Island Railway, LIRR and Metro-North have learned how to evaluate locations where they can safely flee or hide if gunfire occurs, according to Cuomo's press release.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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