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DRPA/PATCO to Use Homeland Security Funds to Strengthen Security at Facilities
DRPA/PATCO to Install “Intelligent” Cameras
DRPA/PATCO is making increased enhancements to its safety and security program, starting with the installation of state-of-the-art “intelligent” cameras along the PATCO train line and Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Beginning in April, work will begin on the installation of cameras along PATCO’s 14.2 mile rail line and the Ben Franklin Bridge as part of a robust electronic surveillance system. The cameras and detection equipment are equipped with “intelligent” software capable of detecting unauthorized intrusion or unusual activities and sending an alert to the monitoring/response team. The new cameras being installed at PATCO will be a significant upgrade to the current camera system, increasing the number of cameras located in PATCO stations, parking lots, platforms and along the rail right of way. Full installation is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
The cameras will cost approximately $4 million and are being funded in part, by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. This is part of a larger effort to enhance transit security throughout the region.
In addition to the electronic surveillance system at PATCO and the Ben Franklin Bridge, other security initiatives planned this year include bridge hardening and lighting improvements, upgrades to the radio communication system, development of a Traffic Management Center and two mock drills involving multiple jurisdictions.
“Ensuring the safety and security of our bridges is more than just our job- it is our most important duty as a responsible transportation agency,” said DRPA Chief Executive Officer and PATCO President John J. Matheussen. “Each and every day we work diligently to protect our customers, employees and facilities.”
Since September 11, 2001, DRPA and PATCO have taken extraordinary steps to enhance the safety and security of its facilities. Authority staff remains in constant contact with law enforcement authorities both locally and nationally. The number of police officers, several security drills and a number of specialized police units including but not limited to a K-9 Unit, Truck Enforcement Unit and Marine Patrol Unit have been introduced. The Transit Watch safety and security awareness program has been implemented at PATCO, which encourages the active participation of transit passengers and employees working together to maintain a safe transit environment. In addition, we provide regular Security Awareness Training for all non-police personnel.
In November, 2007, we introduced the Transit Ambassador program at PATCO. The Transit Ambassadors patrol PATCO stations, trains and parking lots, providing an extra set of eyes and ears and assistance to customers in need.
“None of this is an end result,” said Matheussen. “We constantly re-evaluate and implement new features to our security measures.”
The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency. DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges, PATCO, the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal and the RiverLink Ferry.
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