MBTA Police search policy

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

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Postby Robert Paniagua » Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:35 pm

Well, me and you will have to realize the searches, and as I stated above, I took it all in stride. No, I'm not against the ACLU or something, but I'd rather play it safe too and allow my stuff to be scrutinized, especially that I'm hispanic/Puerto Rican decent, so I especially have to beware that I don't get mistaken for someone of interest.
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Postby CS » Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:38 pm

Well I refuse to be searched. I'll walk to where I have to go. This is America, not Isreal - I refuse to live in fear, I refuse to have my privacy invaded, I refuse to be searched.
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Noel Weaver

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jul 23, 2004 2:27 am

We are allowing terrorism to take over our lives to such a degree that it
might take away the freedoms that we have taken for granted all of our
lives. The paranoia that has taken over in the Boston Area is absolutely
obscene.
I had planned to spend four or five days in the Boston Area this August,
probably in the middle of the month before going on to New Hampshire
and Albany, NY.
The security hassels of riding trains will take all of the joy out of it for me
and some of the benefits for the traveling public as well.
I think it is time for another "Boston Tea Party" again.
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Postby BC Eagle » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:01 am

News reports from yesterday indicate that the T police aren't even opening and searching most bags. The reports said they swab the outside of the bag and pass the samples through a machine that can detect bomb making materials. The whole process takes only seconds. According to the reports, they'll only open and look through a bag if they get a positive result.
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Report searches to the ACLU and NLG

Postby Ron Newman » Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:31 am

(Reposted from the "No Bags or Parcels" thread)

Both the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild are collecting information from MBTA riders about the searches.

If you have been searched and are willing to help these organizations, please fill out the ACLU's reporting form and call the National Lawyers Guild's special "MBTA Watch" answering machine at 617.497.0175.

When calling the NLG number, state the date and time, location, and method of the searches (dogs, wands, etc.) in your message.
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Postby Xplorer2000 » Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:53 am

I ,for one ,have gone on record as being vehemently opposed to the searches, on many levels.
Now , that having been said, I experienced my first taste of these on Wednesday, at Haymarket , on the Orange line. I will say this: I was impressed by several things....the polite, professional manner of the "Transit Police"(its on their uniforms...)during what must be a streesful time for them, the fact that they attempted to be as unobtrusive as possible, and , from what I could see, they didn't seem to single any one person or "Profile" out...they pretty much gave everybody who had a bag a cursory "once-over"....it took only about 2 to 5 minutes, and we were on our way.On the surface, even if it is of dubious security value, it seems the "T" may have finally gotten something right. The real test, of course, is AFTER the press spotlight is off the city after the DNC.THEN lets see if the kid gloves stay on during checks, because I have the suspiscion the only reason they're playing nice is because the city is under a media microscope.
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Postby SbooX » Thu Jul 29, 2004 11:37 pm

BC Eagle wrote:News reports from yesterday indicate that the T police aren't even opening and searching most bags. The reports said they swab the outside of the bag and pass the samples through a machine that can detect bomb making materials. The whole process takes only seconds. According to the reports, they'll only open and look through a bag if they get a positive result.


No idea what reports you've seen, but the reports I've seen, which would be my eyewitness accounts, are completely the opposite. Maybe thats what they are doing for the valued commuter rail customers, but us Orange Line shmucks got the shaft again. 1-3 law enforcement officials (T police or TSA officials usually) board each car and go through every bag with the exception of small purses. They haven't missed pawing through a single bag on any car I've been on.

Oh, and remember that nonsense about no bags larger than a "loaf of bread." Yeah right! At least one person returning from the airport had a suitcase on the Orange Line large enough to hold at least one dead body. It was searched, but only in a most cursory manner.

As for me, I've done as I said earlier and not taken a bag with me this week. I'll do the same tommorow (Friday) just in case. The nonsense has to stop.
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Postby BC Eagle » Sat Jul 31, 2004 8:17 pm

SbooX wrote:
BC Eagle wrote:News reports from yesterday indicate that the T police aren't even opening and searching most bags. The reports said they swab the outside of the bag and pass the samples through a machine that can detect bomb making materials. The whole process takes only seconds. According to the reports, they'll only open and look through a bag if they get a positive result.


No idea what reports you've seen, but the reports I've seen, which would be my eyewitness accounts, are completely the opposite. Maybe thats what they are doing for the valued commuter rail customers, but us Orange Line shmucks got the shaft again. 1-3 law enforcement officials (T police or TSA officials usually) board each car and go through every bag with the exception of small purses. They haven't missed pawing through a single bag on any car I've been on.

Oh, and remember that nonsense about no bags larger than a "loaf of bread." Yeah right! At least one person returning from the airport had a suitcase on the Orange Line large enough to hold at least one dead body. It was searched, but only in a most cursory manner.

As for me, I've done as I said earlier and not taken a bag with me this week. I'll do the same tommorow (Friday) just in case. The nonsense has to stop.


As the date on the post indicates, I made it on Friday, July 23. The news reports are from Thursday, July 22. Those were the supposed "random" searches. They were not searching peoples bags, but undertaking a process as I described above. Other than on several commuter rail stations last week, I do not know where else these inspections have taken place. The actual physical searches began on the Orange Line on Monday afternoon. I do not believe they occurred on any other lines, and at stops other than Haymarket and Community College. I had Friday off, but I've heard there were none on Friday.
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Terrour alert at orange or Red only

Postby Robert Paniagua » Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:08 am

Now, the MBTA police might continue the seaches if the terror alert goes to either orange or red. But since we are in yellow, I don't believe that MBTA police will be scrutinizing people's bags in any way, shape, form or size.
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Postby Ken W2KB » Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:44 am

>>>>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.<<<<

There are many exceptions to this provision. Key word is "unreasonable" and in the case of a heightened risk, such as in major transportation terminals, the seach may indeed pass Constitutional muster. Also important is the nature of the search. A relatively unobtrusive check of the contents of a knapsack differs dramatically from a strip search for example. The searches are also in a public area, not in a home or hotel room. I don't see a Constitutional issue here, with relatively mild searches for a valid reason in a public area.
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