Twenty federal, state and local law enforcements are teaming up for coordinated patrols of South Florida's Tri-Rail commuter line, reports Miami's Channel 10. They will operate under the umbrella of the Southeast Regional Domestic Security Task Force for Operation Transit Shield.
The plan calls for increased patrols of the rail line , which runs from Miami to West Palm Beach, as well as an awareness campaign to promote rider participation in the safety effort. Officials want passengers to report "any suspicious activity, no matter how small." However, as New York City police chief John O'Connor told Channel 1o, "transit systems need to be open, free and accessible. We cannot create airport-type security."
While the recent massacre in Mumbai reiterates the need for vigilance against terrorism, law enforcement officials need to keep legitimate First Amendment rights in mind. Rail photographers could come in for a hard time, as they have in other locations where zealous police officers have unlawfully violated these rights. I would hate to see this become an excuse to for police to harass railfans. Nevertheless, until I know more, I have no plans to hang out near Tri-Rail tracks next time I go to Delray Beach to visit the folks.
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