On Monday, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Transit Police K-9 Explosive Ordnance Detection Teams will conduct random station and rail yard sweeps throughout the day as part of heightened security associated with today’s terrorist attack on subway stations in Moscow.
Locations of the station sweeps are not being announced in advance. All of the Metro Transit Police officers will be on high visibility patrols throughout the day.
“When we opened the Metro system this morning, we did so with heightened security,” said Metro Transit Police Acting Chief Jeri Lee. “We remain an open system and we do what we can to be as secure as possible.”
Coincidentally this morning Metro is hosting a planned drill simulating a bus explosion in the parking lot at RFK Stadium. The drill, which has been planned since December, is designed to test local emergency response to such an incident.
“We are always doing what we can to conduct drills and exercises to improve our regional response and preparation for emergencies,” Lee said. “Today’s drill is being conducted in partnership with local law enforcement and emergency response departments and will be the third one we have conducted within the past two months. The idea behind conducting drills is to learn what we can do to better prepare for such situations.”
This past weekend, Metro hosted overnight drill that simulated a situation in which a train below ground between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom Metrorail stations experienced an explosion with fatalities and multiple injuries.
Last week Metro, in conjunction with local fire departments unveiled new electric carts that can ride on the tracks and can be used to get first responders to the scene quicker than ever before. The carts also can be used to evacuate victims faster to get them medical aid that they may need.
Last month Metro also conducted a drill simulating a situation in which there were shooters inside the Friendship Heights Metrorail stations. That drill also tested local first responders.
About two months ago Metro expanded its anti-terrorism unit by about 20 officers. In early February Metro launched “Blue TIDE,” a new initiative aimed at deterring terrorist activity in the Metro system. Blue TIDE (Terrorism Identification and Deterrence Effort) is a major high-visibility terrorism show of force.
“We will remain on a heightened state of security at least through the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit scheduled in Washington in a few weeks and we are partnering with Federal and local law enforcement for security related to that summit,” Lee said.