U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

POLICING THE RAILS (FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT BIBLE, 1978, BY ROBERT A SCANLON - SEE NCJ-49390)

NCJ Number
49392
Author(s)
T GOUGH
Date Published
1978
Annotation
THE USE OF FULL-TIME LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF AMERICA'S RAILROADS GOES BACK TO 1855 WHEN ALLAN PINKERTON MADE SECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PREVENTION OF TRAIN ROBBERIES.
Abstract
IN THE 1880S SPECIAL AGENTS CARRIED AN ARSENAL OF WEAPONS WHICH MIGHT INCLUDE A REVOLVER, A RIFLE, AND A SHORT-BARRELED SHOTGUN. ONE GROUP, THE RANGERS, HAD A SPECIALLY EQUIPPED BAGGAGE CAR TO CARRY THEM QUICKLY TO THE SCENE OF A ROBBERY. IN ADDITION TO PROTECTING TRAINS FROM GANGS SUCH AS THE HOLE-IN-THE-WALL GANG (KID CURRY, BUTCH CASSIDY, AND THE SUNDANCE KID), RAILROAD AGENTS DEALT WITH LONE BANDITS, PICKPOCKETS, CON MEN, AND BOOTLEGGERS. TODAY, RAILROAD SPECIAL AGENTS ARE SPECIALLY TRAINED; MANY AT THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS NATIONAL POLICE ACADEMY. TODAY'S AGENTS DEAL WITH CARGO THEFTS, BURGLARIES OF COMPANY PROPERTY, VANDALISM, AND EVEN DERAILMENTS, EXTORTION ATTEMPTS, AND CRIMES OF VIOLENCE. CARGO SECURITY IS A HIGH-PRIORITY RAILROAD INTEREST. BY UTILIZING COMPUTERS, AND THROUGH FASTER METHODS OF HANDLING CLAIMS, THE RAILROADS ARE ABLE TO IDENTIFY HIGH RISK LOADS WHICH CAN THEN BE GIVEN EXTRA SECURITY PROTECTION. PHYSICAL INSPECTION OF LOADS EN ROUTE HELPS IDENTIFY THEFT-PRONE ROUTES AND SPECIAL RISK AREAS. RAILROAD POLICE ALSO PROVIDE VEHICLE AND FOOT PATROLS FOR RAILROAD YARDS AND INDUSTRIAL LOADING AREAS. STAKEOUTS AND REMOTE SURVEILLANCE ARE USED TO PROTECT HIGH VALUE OR HIGH RISK LOADS. FENCING AND LIGHTING ARE USED AS DETERRENTS AS WELL. RAILROAD AGENTS RECEIVE SUPPORT FROM AND WORK CLOSELY WITH PUBLIC LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES. A TRADITIONAL AREA OF RAILROAD LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS BEEN THE EFFORT TO CONTROL THE RAILROAD-RIDING HOBO. ALTHOUGH THIS PROBLEM IS FAST DISAPPEARING, TRESPASSING IS STILL A MAJOR PROBLEM OFTEN ATTENDED WITH VANDALISM TO CARGO OR EQUIPMENT OR DERAILMENTS CAUSED BY PLACING OBJECTS ON THE TRACKS. STRICT ENFORCEMENT OF TRESPASSING LAWS, MAINTENANCE OF A RECORD OF PREVIOUS OFFENDERS, AND INFORMATION PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOL-CHILDREN ARE AMONG EFFORTS TO CONTROL THIS PROBLEM. PUBLIC LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL ARE REQUESTED TO AID RAILROAD POLICE; THEIR INPUT WILL BE APPRECIATED, AND THROUGH COOPERATION AND COMMUNICATION EVERYONE'S JOB WILL BE MADE EASIER AND MORE EFFICIENT. (JAP)