TSA unveils Mobile Security Checkpoint pilot program with Maryland Transit Authority

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Local Press Release

HANOVER, Md. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), in partnership with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), today announced a Mobile Security Checkpoint (MSC) pilot program to screen MARC passengers and their bags for explosive material. Passenger screening will be conducted at the Dorsey Road MARC commuter rail station, April 4-28, 2006. Screening will occur every weekday for four weeks between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The MSC program is designed to determine the operational feasibility, effectiveness, and cost of commercially available screening technology installed in a mobile container. The results from the pilot will be used to determine in which environments this containerized checkpoint is suitable.

“TSA is committed to exploring innovative ways to enhance security in all modes of transportation,” said TSA Federal Security Director David Beecroft. “We appreciate the strong partnership of MTA and the cooperation of MARC passengers as we strive to stay ahead of the curve in protecting our nation’s rail systems.”

“Governor Ehrlich has made it clear that Maryland's transportation systems and the people who use them everyday are safer when we explore the latest technology as part of our prevention efforts,” said Governor's Office of Homeland Security Director, Dennis R. Schrader.

Upon arriving at the station, every passenger will have his or her baggage screened and will proceed through an Explosives Trace Portal (puffer) machine and a metal detector. Passengers may be instructed to stand still in the portal for a few seconds, during which time they will feel several puffs of air. This pilot program is focused on searching for explosives; as a result, unlike airport screening, passengers can retain cell phones, keys, change and other small metal objects as they proceed through the screening process. Passengers are encouraged to arrive at the station 5-10 minutes earlier than usual to accommodate the screening. Special screening accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities.

Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) from TSA’s National Screening Force will perform screening for the pilot, and a MARC Customer Service representative will be available during the screening process to address any concerns passengers may have.

The technology used to screen passengers will be a Sentinel II Portal, manufactured by Smiths Detection, and a CEIA-brand Metal Detector. A HI-SCAN 6046si (an X-ray explosives detector) and an Ionscan 400B (a trace explosives detector currently used in airports), both manufactured by Smiths Detection, will be used to screen baggage.

The Mobile Security Checkpoint pilot is funded by the Technical Support Working Group, an interagency working group, with TSA funding to support staffing and data analysis. For more information about TSA, please visit www.tsa.gov.