Osama bin Laden dead: Metro, Capitol police beef up security
Updated: May 2, 2011 - 11:26 pm
Metro and the Capitol police are stepping up security as a precaution following Osama bin Laden's death.
Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said increased security would begin Monday on both bus and rail systems. The security has no scheduled end date.
"Why would we not increase security? Not only in the transit system, but across the U.S.?” he said.
Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein says Metro Transit Police are working with area law enforcement partners to increase security in the system. She says customers are likely to see more uniformed officers in the system beginning Monday.
The uptick in security could be felt and seen throughout the day on Metro's subway system.
(Photo: Julie Parker/ABC7)
“This is not the end. This is a longer greater struggle and we have to recognize that,” said Adam Merriam.
That's why no eyebrows were raised when weapon-sniffing dogs and officers with automatic weapons walked the stations Monday looking for anything suspicious. In many ways all over the Washington area, at the monuments and the airports, it was business as it has been since the September 11th attacks.
As for questions about whether bag inspections will be performed, Metro's Steven Taubenkibel says he's not aware of it, but if they were scheduled to happen, Metro Transit Police would not disclose that type of information ahead of time.
- ("Deuce", 2.5-year-old black lab on security patrol with Montgomery County Police at the Rockville Metro station. Photo: Julie Parker/ABC7)
Metro's Farbstein says there are other security measures in place that are designed to be invisible to the public.
Two police officers were stationed Monday morning on each side of the platform at the King Street Metro station in Alexandria, Va. One commuter said she'd be happy with more security, not less.
“Now that I know that he's dead and there may be retaliation, I would want to have security at every train station, at every single stop,” said Metro rider Yahkesha Robinson.
Another rider said that he wouldn't let fear change his riding schedule.
“If we change our habits, then that's like giving them victory,” said Metro rider Van Edwards. “What's the point? This is our country."
Meanwhile, Montgomery County Police say they're working with Gaithersburg, Rockville, Takoma Park and Metro Transit police to increase presence at unidentified Metro stations.
Terror alert level not raised
The federal government has not raised the terror alert level because there is no evidence of an imminent attack. CIA director Leon Panetta said in the light of bin Laden's death "the terrorists almost certainly will attempt to avenge him, and we must - and will - remain vigilant and resolute."
Authorities are also stepping up patrols. Capitol police cars flashed their lights and officers with automatic weapons patrolled in force Monday as a visual warning to anyone seeking to retaliate for Osama bin Laden's death.
Senate Sgt. At Arms Terrance Gainer said Congress' police force is on the lookout for any threat on the Capitol campus as lawmakers returned from a two-week Easter recess.
Ten police vehicles, lights flashing and trunks opened, gathered at the base of Capitol Hill early Monday where Constitution and Pennsylvania Avenues meet. Officers with automatic rifles were examining every vehicle that approached.
The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t issued any new warnings for airports. Passengers ABC7 spoke with at Reagan National Airport said they were confident that they’d be safe.
Army Sergeant David Earp has served two terms of duty in Afghanistan. He flew back to his home base in Colorado today, wondering if terrorists would strike again on U.S. soil.
“I'm going to say yes something is going to happen,” he said.
One commuter, Susan Welsh, was scheduled to fly home Monday out of Reagan National Airport. She said she was not scared and had not considered the possibility of a retaliatory attack.
But Sarah Kirkwood, a traveler, changed her 6 a.m. flight to a later one so she could monitor the news.
“I feel completely safe,” she said. “I think everyone's going to be on heightened awareness. Sometimes this could be the safest day to fly, you never know.”
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