Photo courtesy Metro.
HOUSTON — Undercover officers are now riding selected Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro) buses as part of a pilot program focusing on counterterrorism. The agency launched the program BusSafe last week by conducting a "sweep" of certain bus routes, stops and shelters, reported the Houston Chronicle
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Metro press release below:
Patrons riding METRO on Friday, April 13, or any given day, may be sitting next to an undercover MPD officer.
The move to monitor and curtail crime on buses and trains is just one component of a much larger initiative called BusSafe — a national pilot program created by a peer advisory group of mass transit police chiefs and security directors, and one which METRO’s Police Department is adopting to enhance safety on the system.
MPD, Houston Police Department officers and Harris County Precinct 7 Deputy Constables took part in a synchronized, counter-terrorism exercise on April 13, focusing on bus routes, stops and shelters, and transit centers in high traffic areas. The participating agencies will: ride buses, perform random bag checks, and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at transit centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior.
While local law enforcement agencies focus on overall safety measures noted above, representatives with the Transportation Security Administration will also be on hand, lending their counter-terrorism expertise and support during the exercise.
“We have one of the safest transit systems in the world in Houston,” said METRO Police Chief Victor Rodriguez. “One way we are able to keep it that way is through the use of deterrents such as uniformed and plainclothes officers patrolling our system and aggressively addressing suspicious and criminal activity.”
METRO Police encourage patrons, employees and the general public, if they see suspicious activity, objects or behavior, to say something by reporting it immediately by calling METRO Police at 713-224-COPS (2677), or dial #MPD, a free call from most cellphones.