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Anti-terrorism drill on Metrorail

Mark Berman

12:30 p.m. Update: New York also participated in anti-terrorism drills Tuesday morning.

Approximately 100 officers from the New York Police Department were at Penn Station, Grand Central Station and Herald Square beginning at 7 a.m., performing additional bag screenings and inspections of train and subways.

New York plans another operation with several police agencies on Friday.

-- Associated Press

12:15 p.m. Update: The Post's Ann Scott Tyson reports that Greenbelt Station was part of the anti-terrorism exercises, too, which in fact, were part of a larger East Coast drill. .

A reader writes in that he saw a Prince George's Couunty SWAT vehicle parked at the entrance to Greenbelt Station at about 9:30 a.m. Kerry Hotopp said in an e-mail, "No fewer than a dozen police officers with assault rifles were present throughout the station, along with a few people in TSA uniforms."

8:55 a.m. Update: A reader writes in curious abut the heavy police presence on the Red Line in Montgomery County today. He reports that there were eight police at the east entrance to Shady Grove Station and three more officers on the platform. Two sheriff's deputies rode in his rail car from Rockville to Bethesda, and two officers walked through, one carrying what appeared to be a machine gun.

What are you seeing on the Red Line today? Post a comment below or e-mail us at

8:01 a.m. Update: The drill is now underway from Silver Spring to Glenmont and Bethesda to Shady Grove on the Red Line.

"A lot of people are coming up and saying thank you," said Sgt. Sean Flinn of the Metro Transit Police.

At Forest Glen, about a dozen police including Montgomery County police, the Federal Protective Service and Metro Transit Police's anti-terrorism team and members of the Transportation Security Administration "Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response" (VIPR) team.

"This shows TSA's ability to integrate with the agencies to respond collectively to any incident," said David Johnson, special agent in charge at TSA and VIPR program manager.

There are several teams of federal air marshals involved in the Metro anti-terrorism drill along the Red Line, as well as some "behavioral detection officers who look for people exhibiting suspicious behaviors, he said.

"We are looking for people who want to harm mass transit," said Johnson. "Most people appreciate it.".

-- Ann Scott Tyson

Original post: The Metro Transit Police department are staging an anti-terrorism drill at the Silver Spring station this morning. There is no current threat to the system or elevated threat level; rather, it's part of the Blue TIDE (Terrorism Identification and Deterrence Effort) initiative launched in February to show Metro's vigilance against any terrorist activity.

Expect a large show of force: About 150 officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies will be participating in the drill. The Metro Transit Police will have about 60 officers involved, including members of the anti-terrorism, special response and K-9 explosives detection teams.

Other groups participating in Blue TIDE include the Montgomery County Police Department, Greenbelt Police Department , Rockville City Police Department, Maryland Transit Administration Police, Maryland Transportation Authority Police, Federal Protective Service and Transportation Security Administration.

We'll have more from the scene later today.

This is the latest in a series of anti-terrorism activities and drills for Metro. In February, Metro Transit Police staged an anti-terrorism sweep in Union Station during the morning rush hour. And in March, they simulated explosions on a train and a bus to continue testing their coordination with other regional agencies.

By Mark Berman  | June 29, 2010; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Metro  | Tags:  metro, metro transit police, wmata  
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I saw six transit police at Grosvenor at 8 am but not at any other station. At first I thought it was related to last night's incident.

Posted by: jslaff | June 29, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

First of all, I doubt this comment:

"A lot of people are coming up and saying thank you," said Sgt. Sean Flinn of the Metro Transit Police.

Second of all, TSA has no reason to be on any METRO system. Misson creep, hello???

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 29, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

That should be Mission!

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 29, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

what am i seeing on the red line? overcrowded trains, a train being taken out of service, and sweat dripping down everyone's brow thanks to insufficient air conditioning. typical commute.

Posted by: nativetexan2 | June 29, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I saw two TSA officers at the entrance to Glenmont station.

Posted by: wayward_va | June 29, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Now if they could hold this exercise everyday and night on the Green line they'll really see some terrorist.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 29, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Saw them at PG plaza this morning: full gear, large guns pointed down.

Posted by: DrMeglet | June 29, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

PublicEnemy1 is right . . . how about putting all that fancy hardware to use protecting the public????

Posted by: k_romulus | June 29, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Didn't take the Metro today but have to drive right past (under) it to get to work in Silver Spring. Insane presence there at about 9:20; at least a half-dozen cruisers, police dogs, TSA... looked like they were breaking it up but there had clearly been quite a number of them.

Also on our drive today we saw several helicopters (flying over the Potomac, as they usually do) -- assumed they were part of it too.

Posted by: EtoilePB | June 29, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

lol @ Publicenemy1....Especially during the school year.

Posted by: alleyezonme | June 29, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Around 7:00 a.m. at Shady Grove, I saw a lone TSA officer standling on the platform looking clueless. I thought that she was waiting to board a train; however, she didn't, so I figured that she must have been there to watch for suspected terrorists.

Like many other riders, I would like the police to calm down unruly kids on the Metro and enforce basic rules, e.g., no eating, smoking, etc on the trains, maybe even help direct the flow of people off and on trains at Gallery Place, Metro Center, and Union Station.

Some mornings, I board at Twinbrook. One morning about one month ago, I saw several officers w/rifles on the platform at Twinbrook. Twinbrook -- one of the less busy stations? Didn't make any sense to me. Furthermore, there was Humvee, camoflaged in sand colored paint, parked outside of the Twinbrook station!

I'm unsure what having police w/machine guns at stations and on the trains accomplishes. The color of their rifles is the same as the officers' clothes; consequently, the rifles are somewhat hidden.

On previous occasions, when I have seen the rifles, I have been shocked. Guns on the Metro are bad enough, but rifles. What? The officers are going to shoot people on a crowded platform or rail car? Basically, I think that we are moving towards a police state. Cops on the Metro are unlikely stop terrorists; instead, good spy intelligence is more likely to head of terrorist activities.

Interesting -- at least to me -- statement on the current state of American society: About two months ago, some officers w/rifles were sticking their heads into rail cars at Union Station during evening rush. I was sitting in a car w/four youths, each sprawled across two seats. When the officer looked into the car, the kids didn't move.

When I was a kid, I would have been scared of the police, thinking that I should sit up straight and be on my best behavior. I was surprised the that officer didn't give the kids a "sit up straight and behave" look. I'm guess I'm just old fashioned. Even though I still don't like the police, I act respectfully when they around and obey even "small" rules, such as only occupying one seat on a rail car.

Posted by: RockvilleBear | June 29, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

WAPO--ever hear of OPSEC? It stands for Operational Security and it means---don't report on things that could endanger operations in the future. Apparently your need for readers is attempting to endanger TIDE's effort to practice what they need to do. Pathetic.

Posted by: mil1 | June 29, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

A sad waste of time, effort, and money. The only people who have died on metro weren't killed by terrorists, that's for sure. The money could be better spent elsewhere. And the only people who are regularly terrorized on metro ride the green line, where stepped up police presence could really be used, not the red. Once again, we are poorly served by our misspent tax dollars at work.

Posted by: 303030 | June 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see squat. That's because I don't take Metrorail anymore.



Posted by: bs2004 | June 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

They shouldn't use the words "terror" and "metro" in the same headline, as these days, the words are interchangeable.

Posted by: 123cartoon | June 29, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Saw two K-9 officers at Medical Center this morning. One was holding two dogs while the other was using a lot of paper towels to clean up what I assumed to be an "accident." (Though I didn't know that well-trained police dogs had those!)

Posted by: Janine1 | June 29, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Do you think it's a coincidence that they only hold these drills AFTER the school year?

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 29, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

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