|Random Pat-Downs Turn PATCO Into Police State
Commuters' clothing, pockets, bags and vehicles to be randomly searched
Press / NBC Philadelphia | September 8, 2010
Commuters who ride PATCO trains between southern New Jersey and Philadelphia should expect random searches of their clothing, pockets, bags and vehicles on their morning trip to work.
Twelve Transportation Security Administration screeners, armed with an explosive-sniffing K-9, checked 663 commuter bags randomly selected from the morning rush at the Lindenwold station Tuesday.
"It was chaotic," Kevin Greczyn, an accountant from Magnolia who commutes to Philadelphia daily, told the Courier Post. "Nobody was sure what was happening, whether it was safe to get on the train, or whether we were carrying something we shouldn't be.”
Delaware River Port Authority Police Chief David McClintock told The Courier Post of Cherry Hill screeners were looking for improvised explosive devices and weapons.
The chief says that out of the 6663 bags searched between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., a crack pipe was the only item confiscated.
“We can conduct any kind of search we want," said McClintock. "We could ask TSA to bring wands or X-ray machines like they have in airports, though we don't think that's appropriate for PATCO riders at this time."
There are about 5,000 commuters passing through the Lindenwold daily, according to the Courier Post. The searches will be conducted by a freshly hired DRPA police several times a month, --without advance warning -- at various PATCO stations.
A special Delaware River Port Authority police unit plans to conduct surprise searches at various PATCO stations.