Digital Version of January/February 2015 Print Edition
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Amtrak Police Department debuts APD11 ‘Txt-a-Tip’
The Amtrak Police Department (APD) is launching a new method for passengers and employees to report suspicious activity, crime or emergencies by introducing APD11 "Txt-a-Tip," a program that allows contacting the Amtrak Police Department's National Communications Center via SMS text messaging.
"Contacting the Amtrak Police Department by text is another tactic in our multi-layered approach to protecting America's Railroad," said Amtrak Police Chief Polly Hanson. "Our passengers and frontline employees provide an extra line of defense by being an additional set of eyes and ears while in or around our stations, trains, facilities or right-of-way, and now they can report crime or suspicious activity in a convenient and discreet method, by text message."
"Txt-a-Tip" will follow similar response procedures that are in place when a report is called into the Amtrak Police 800 number. Passengers can now simply report suspected criminal or suspicious activity by sending a text to APD11 from a smartphone or to 27311 from a standard cell phone. When a text is received, the sender will receive a message acknowledging the report, and will then be connected to a live Amtrak Police communications officer who will correspond directly via text message with the person to learn more about the situation and determine the appropriate action.
This initiative is part of a continued effort by Amtrak to provide additional communication options for passengers and employees who are deaf or may have hearing loss, allowing easy and efficient communication of emergency information to the APD.
"People should trust their gut, follow their instincts, and report anything that just doesn't seem right. It's our job as the Amtrak Police Department to check out anything that's reported and the goal of APD11 is to make that even easier for everyone to do," said Chief Hanson.
Amtrak has explosive detection and vapor wake K-9 teams, trained employees to identify potential security risks, random passenger and baggage screenings, and developed strong partnerships with local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies.