MBTA Police search policy

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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MBTA Police search policy

Postby Patrick Collins » Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:37 pm

I'm curious... how does everyone feel about the MBTA police searching passengers?
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Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:20 am

as long as it makes us safe, and doesn't delay me a long time, i don't mind the searches
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Postby CJ » Wed Jul 07, 2004 7:27 am

No Bags or Parcels: http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3729 really covers alot of it, including alot of heated opinions!
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Bag Searches

Postby Paul Cutler III » Wed Jul 07, 2004 10:20 am

MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 wrote:
as long as it makes us safe, and doesn't delay me a long time, i don't mind the searches


That's just the problem, it won't make us safe. It will not discourage terrorists, who are, after all, willing to die (for the most part) to launch their attack. They have proven time and again that they are willing to take extreme risks to accomplish their goals.

And since you can bet that most terrorists have their device primed to go the second they walk out their front door (and will set it off the minute a cop starts to search them), the random searching of bags and people won't prevent a tragedy, either.

All it really can be is a "feel good" policy that weakens our 4th Amendment protections while it wastes manpower and money better spent preventing the terrorists from even starting.

BTW, as I said before, I am in favor of increasing MBTA police patrols on the property that stop and search people when they have reasonable suspicions about them. Not just terrorists concerns, but ordinary run-of-the-mill suspicions, too. Who knows? Maybe they'll get lucky.

However, I am still not in favor of random searches that target non-suspicious people who just happen to be the 7th person through a doorway, or the 43rd person down a staircase. That is unreasonable.
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Postby Pete » Wed Jul 07, 2004 2:21 pm

Independent of my feelings on the rights issues involved, I just can't see it working. Implemented properly, it will be a logistical nightmare. So what will happen is, it will be implemented quite marginally, and will not accomplish much. That is, beyond the 'air of security' that all the collective measures engender.

Not having orchestrated a bombing, I don't know how this makes would-be bombers feel. I suspect they won't take it very seriously. I suspect that, much like most riders, any such people would notice fairly quickly the patterns in this policy's implementation, and will adjust themselves accordingly.

The only way to make this policy a real deterrent is to do it to an extent of which the T is neither logistically nor financially capable. You would need to have such a high level of searching that you or I would consider it very likely to be searched upon entering a given facility. That just isn't going to happen.

So like most measures of this kind, it's probably the best the experts can come up with given what they've got to work with, and it probably isn't going to have much real effect beyond annoying people.

Can't say I can think of anything else more than marginally effective, though. Essentially, we're screwed either way.
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Postby Pete » Wed Jul 07, 2004 2:27 pm

Of course, if the status quo (no bombings are occurring here) were to remain after its implementation, the policy would be called a resounding success. If the policy were not implemented and no bombings were to occur, it would be said that we 'got lucky this time.' There will likely be no real means of assessing this policy's effectiveness, unless of course it either produces the discovery of heretofore undetected bombers, or it fails completely and bombings take place despite it.
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Postby CSX Conductor » Wed Jul 07, 2004 10:59 pm

I agree with paul......it wont make anything safer..............just more delays in the already tight schedules of passengers' daily routine.
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Etc

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:44 am

I totally agree with Paul. The MBTA bosses have pressed the red panic
button, only problem as I see it is that it will not do any good.
Sort of like pulling the emergency cord on a passenger train and it keeps
on moving.
I have totally eliminated Boston from my vacation plans this summer.
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Postby NealG » Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:12 am

Knowing the MBTA management, they will screw it up somehow, at great expense to tax and farepayers. Watching the whims of MBTA management is almost like watching a train wreck, you don't want to look, but almost have to. I hope heads roll after the dust clears from this sure-to-fail policy.
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Re: Etc

Postby Pete » Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:29 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:I have totally eliminated Boston from my vacation plans this summer.


As well you should. Many of the major public events that were to happen this summer have been cancelled due to the fact that the DNC has used up security budgets.

That's OK, SailBoston mostly just benefitted us cranky locals, and we're mainly just a nuisance anyway. Better that we be kept home.
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ACLU demo at Park St Station, July 13, 8-9 am

Postby Ron Newman » Fri Jul 09, 2004 4:19 pm

I got this announcement from the ACLU today:

The next demonstration against searches on the T will take place on
Tuesday morning, July 13, from 8AM to 9AM outside the Park Street station. The
national ABC and National Public Radio may be there, and we would like a huge
turnout. Please come if you can, and get your friends to come.

Thanks,
Nancy Murray
ACLU of Mass.
617 482-3170 x 314
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Postby Zaphod » Fri Jul 09, 2004 7:21 pm

If it truly is a War on Terror, I think Terror is winning.
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Postby octr202 » Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:42 pm

Wondering if I'll see the Haverhill double-tracking finished before I retire...
Photo: Melbourne W7 No. 1019 on Route 78, Bridge & Church Streets, Richmond, Victoria. 10/21/2010
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Postby Robert Paniagua » Thu Jul 22, 2004 3:18 pm

Yes, you're right, I already knew that at 5:50 AM when I got on at Holbrook/Randolph to get the Purple Line this morning. There was a small squad of police officers, one with a K-9er and a table set up at the southern end of the platform (the public entrance also), and the first thing I did when I saw the was...............yup, you guessed it, freely opened up my bag and offered to scrutinize it. I had TOTALLY no problem with it. It was quick and painless, so I definitely understand the MBTA Police inpections.
~Robert Paniagua
Moderator: WMATA :: General Railroad Operations
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Searches

Postby Paul Cutler III » Thu Jul 22, 2004 4:03 pm

Robert Paniagua wrote:
I had TOTALLY no problem with it. It was quick and painless, so I definitely understand the MBTA Police inpections.


I don't.

I don't understand how American citizens can freely give up 228 years of hard fought freedoms just because they are scared (I guess we can delete that "land of the free, home of the brave" part of our National Anthem...).

I don't understand how the MBTA police is actually doing any good by checking "random" people, when they really should be looking for actual, suspicious people.

I don't understand why people want to live in a police state, and actually trust the MBTA police to know what's best for them (heck, they can't even keep their officers from abusing the system they already have; see the recent story about the MBTA cop who used the police computers to check up on a contractor for his sister).

I just don't understand how people can forget the following:
Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
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