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Metra to add in-car security cameras NEWSWIRE

By | November 11, 2019

Board also approves 2020 budget with major funding for locomotives, cars, infrastructure

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An inbound Metra BNSF train arrives at Lisle, Ill., on Nov. 8, 2019. Metra will install security cameras on 400 to 700 of its passenger cars as a result of a contract approved Friday.
TRAINS: David Lassen

CHICAGO — Metra’s board of directors has approved a $15.5-million contract to purchase and install security cameras inside the commuter system’s passenger cars.

The move came at Friday’s board meeting, which also saw the directors approve Metra’s 2020 budget.

“This project is not a response to any specific incident but is just another way we can use technology to augment onboard security,” Metra CEO and Executive Director Jim Derwinski said in a press release announcing the purchase. “We’re always looking for ways to improve safety and security for our customers and employees.”

Plans are to install nine cameras per car, capable of capturing video of all seating and vestibule areas. The contract with Railhead Corp. of Burr Ridge, Ill., will equip a minimum of 400 railcars and a maximum of 700 cars. Onboard DVRs will record and store the video, which can be retrieved if an incident occurs.

The 2020 operating budget includes $480.5 million in capital expenditures, including funds for new locomotives and railcars, locomotive and railcar rehabilitation, stations and parking, yard improvements, and bridge work, as outlined when the budget was unveiled in October [See “Proposed Metra budget boosts spending for locomotives, cars, infrastructure,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 9, 2019.]

6 thoughts on “Metra to add in-car security cameras NEWSWIRE

  1. You don’t need to deputize the conductor as he has always had the legal authority to do what Mr. Beal proposes.

  2. Works for me.

    You have no expectation of privacy in a public place or a place open to the public, therefore generally cameras, and photography, are/is allowed. If private property open to the public however, the owner of the property can make as a stipulation of entry that there be no photography, and this is generally binding.

    This works both ways when dealing with the police. Generally, as long as you do not interfere with their operations, and you are in a place where there is no expectation of privacy, you have the right to photograph and video record them. An accompanying audio recording may or may not be considered “wiretapping”, depending on the statutes of your specific jurisdiction. However, the general trend has been that an accompanying audio recording of an event in a public place (or, conditionally, see above, a place open to the public, there is a difference) is generally not “wiretapping”.

    This does not mean that the police will like you recording them (they generally do not), and it does not mean that they will not attempt to arrest you, or confiscate your equipment, or your recording medium, or order you to destroy the recording. If any of this happens you should immediately consult an attorney in your jurisdiction.

    Attempts by private (e.g., non sworn officer) security to confiscate your equipment, or your recording medium, or orders to destroy the recording, especially if accompanied by force, should be reported to the (real) police, documented, and prosecuted as appropriate. Charges can (and in cases have) range(d) from simple assault to armed robbery.

    As always, when dealing with out-of-control police, you might well beat the rap but you can never beat the ride.

    The above comments are generic in nature and do not form the basis for an attorney/client relationship. They do not constitute legal advice. I am not your attorney. For proper, timely, and accurate legal advice consult a licenced legal practitioner in your jurisdiction. The eyes of Taxes are upon you.

  3. Nine is probably the minimum for these cars. If you don’t ride them, note that the vestibule is in the center of the car, so it is actually two seating parts. Then, there is the upstairs and the downstairs area. You probably need two upstairs and two downstairs for each end of the car, plus at least one for the center vestibule.

  4. Why not deputize the conductors and brakemen? Cheaper and they can make arrests and drop the perp at the next stop.

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