BART officials said today that they’ve temporarily bumped up the number of police patrols on their trains and in their stations as a precaution following the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
BART spokesman Linton Johnson said there haven’t been any specific threats against the transit agency but officials are “just concerned that there might be retaliation.”
He said half of all terrorist attacks across the world in the last 30 years have involved transportation including trains, buses and airplanes.
Sgt. Edgardo Alvarez, who heads BART’s critical asset patrol team, said 15 officers are monitoring trains and stations today.
Alvarez said his team, which was just formed in January and is funded by a grant from the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security, has seven officers. The team is being supplemented today by another eight officers.
In addition, transportation supervisors from throughout the agency are also patrolling the system wearing bright green vests to provide even more scrutiny, he said.
Alvarez said BART is asking riders to speak up if they notice any unusual behavior, unattended packages or suspicious activity.
He said train passengers can use the intercom to contact their train operator or they can call BART police.
Alvarez admitted that BART police “can’t be everywhere” and “it’s tough” to prevent all attacks, but he said, “We’re doing the best we can.”
He said police officers are saturating the portions of the BART system that have been deemed most vulnerable.
Alvarez said transit agencies throughout the U.S. have stepped up patrols in the wake of bin Laden’s death.
“Other agencies are doing what we’re doing if not more,” he said.
Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News