The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) board of directors has approved nearly $2 million in capital spending to invest in new tools and technology to better secure the Metro system.
With the funding, Metro will initiate and award competitive contracts on a range of items including portable radiological detectors for Metro Transit Police officers and a mobile, incident command vehicle.
Among the security upgrades that Metro plans to purchase are 438 portable radiological detectors, which will enable the department to issue a pager-sized detector to every Metro Transit Police officer. The equipment will enable transit police officers, who often are the first to respond to suspicious activity at a Metro facility, to quickly learn about and respond to released or hidden radioactive agents inside Metrorail stations, tunnels, trains or Metrobuses. The detectors cost $744,600.
Currently, only a limited number of officers carry the handheld detectors. Once the procurement is fulfilled, the Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) will be the first transit policing agency in the country to equip every officer with a personal radiological detector.
Metro also plans to acquire a mobile command/incident management vehicle for use by first responders on the scene of an emergency, major service disruption or high-security event. The 35- to 40-foot vehicle will provide a central place for Metro officials to gather and share information, and a location for the Metro Transit Police to more efficiently manage on-scene coordination with other responding agencies, such as local and federal police agencies, fire departments and emergency medical service providers.
Metro also is seeking technical support to move its 24-hour police dispatch center to the Carmen Turner Facility in Landover, Md., from Metro’s downtown headquarters in Washington, D.C. An experienced public safety firm will be awarded a contract of up to $585,000 to minimize risk as the MTPD works to become fully operational at the new facility while maintaining system security.
An additional $165,581will be used to replace 271 bullet-resistant vests that are reaching the end of their lifecycle.