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Rail safety consultant says it was only a matter of time before fatal shooting happened

“Security at Amtrak system wide is very laxed to say the least”
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:43 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It wasn’t a matter of “if” a shooting would happen on an Amtrak train for rail safety consultant Michael Callanan. It was a matter of “when,” he said.

Today, Tucson’s Amtrak station, turned into a crime scene. One DEA officer is dead and two other law enforcement members are wounded. Callanan, who previously worked as an Amtrak conductor, hopes it’s a wake up call to the company.

“Security at Amtrak system wide is very laxed to say the least,” he said.

When purchasing an Amtrak ticket, there are no regular security screenings or scheduled bag checks prior to boarding the train. In many cases, tickets are not checked until after the train has left the station.

“It’s not like when you’re at the airport and you’re getting screened by TSA,” said Callanan.

And it’s scary, he says, to see such low security on a mode of transportation that gets government funding.

“From what I’ve experienced working there and what I’ve observed, I would never put my family on an Amtrak train for security, safety, anything,” said Callanan.

He says today’s tragedy magnifies the lack of training and safety for both Amtrak passengers and employees.

“When I was a conductor on the train, there was no training to deal with any kind of security risk other than to call security or the dispatcher,” said Callanan.

He said he believes the shooting could have been preventable if better safety measures were put in place sooner.

“If something is not done by the railroads it’s going to happen again,” said Callanan.

Amtrak declined to comment.

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