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Date: 08/31/06 01:13
Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Citati
Author: stansrailpix

Union Pacific Railroad Police

BY JACQUES VAN LUNEN
Company cops with badges slapping a hefty ticket on a working man?
Rogue, thy name is the Union Pacific Railroad Police.

According to records in Multnomah County Circuit Court, Union Pacific
railroad officer P.T. Bender stopped 54-year-old Harry Wise from
carrying his bicycle across the Brooklyn rail yard in Southeast
Portland on June 19. Ignoring Wise's protest that the signs around
the yard were illegible, Bender handed the warehouse laborer a
citation for trespassing, according to the police report.

When Wise showed up at court on Aug. 4—without a lawyer—he found
himself on the docket for first-degree criminal trespass, a class A
misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of
$6,250.

If Wise had picked any other property for his shortcut that day, the
charge would have been second-degree trespass, the equivalent of a
speeding ticket, says Barry Engle, a Portland criminal defense lawyer
who is not involved in the case.

But railroads enjoy special legal privileges dating back to the 19th
century. For one, railroad companies are authorized to hire their own
police officers. And trespassing on any yard, bridge, line or tunnel
belonging to the railroads is automatically considered first-degree
criminal trespass, Engle says.

Neither law enforcement nor transportation agencies at the state
level have jurisdiction over UP cops, and the company is notoriously
tight-lipped about internal matters. Joe Arbona, spokesman for Union
Pacific, says the company has "zero tolerance for trespassing," but
would not disclose how often its officers cite trespassers. Court
records show 142 people were cited for criminal trespass by Union
Pacific cops last year, a marked increase from the 38 tickets handed
out in 2000. (Wise, for his part, declined to talk to WW.)

Trespassing is a crime, but it seems unjust (not to mention Roguish)
for a company to enforce a rule aimed at saboteurs and terrorists on
a man who cut across the tracks because he was running late for work.
The case is pending trial.

Originally Published on 8/30/2006

Find this story at www.wweek.com/editorial/3243/7942



Date: 08/31/06 01:58
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: drew1946

Ok, we all know about the lack of jurisdiction by state and local authorities over railroad "cops", as they laughingly call themselves. My question is why not? Who does have jurisdiction over them? In this day of civilian review boards, in San Jose we have a police "auditor", and various other police oversight groups, it it outright idiotic and damn scary that these private armies are allowed to exist. This is not Lebanon or Somalia, nor do the railroads operate in the untamed West and no longer need the likes of Joel McCrea to protect them, and Barbara Stanwick, from evil.

Who sets the standards for the individuals who are hired by railroad police departments? Who sets the use of deadly force policy?
If the states have no oversight responsibility, then qualification and certification such as California's P.O.S.T. do not apply. I have often wondered if the civil libertarians of our time even know such power exists and is held by the railroads. Why is the public judiciary willing to back up this nonsense? I wouldn't be the political power of the UP now could it? Perish the thought!

I will, to some extent, allow as to the need for police whose job it is to protect the railroad, but why not make responsible to the local sheriff? Or even be actual deputies paid for by the railroads but a part of public law enforcement?

Sometime back, I witnessed an incident involving two of Amtrak's thugs. Reporting what I saw to the San Jose Police, I was advised they could do nothing. "Those guys are trouble, we don't mess with them." A captain with the Amtrak PD came up with some poor excuse for what I saw and I was told to mind my own business. A Philadelphia officer once told me that railroads, including Amtrak, are the haven for guys that cannot cut it anywhere else.

Maybe it is time for our elected officials to take away a few toys from the likes of the UP.



Date: 08/31/06 04:57
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: run8

drew1946 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ok, we all know about the lack of jurisdiction by
> state and local authorities over railroad "cops",
> as they laughingly call themselves. My question is
> why not? Who does have jurisdiction over them?

They come under the jurisdiction of each state, generally a department such as the Commissioner of Public Safety, or a similar role. Railroad police generally have to have the same training and qualifications as any other police, and are nominated by the railroad's chief of police. The state grants the appointment, and can rescind it at any time.



Date: 08/31/06 05:58
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: Pj

On top of that, 99% of the officers transferred in from city departments as the railroads typically only hire experienced officers. As run8 stated, they go thru the same training and academy as other officers in that state. The only exception is Amtrak officers who go to the federal academy in Georiga.



Date: 08/31/06 06:42
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: WichitaJct

Do the Amtrak officers, like Amtrak trains , operate 6, 8, maybe 10 hours late? ;~)



Date: 08/31/06 06:42
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: ddkid

The article gives a fine example of "How to Lie with Statistics."

"Court records show 142 people were cited for criminal trespass by Union Pacific cops last year, a marked increase from the 38 tickets handed out in 2000."

"Last year" was 2005, and it's being compared with 2000. What happened in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004? Without any further knowledge, but with a cynical view, it looks as if the reporter selected 2000 for the comparison because it was a particularly low year, and the reporter isn't telling us about the years in between in order to give us the impression that UP is going hog wild on this. Small wonder we don't trust the media.

The fine and jail time cited in the article are the maxima provided under law for the charged offense. It's unlikely that a judge would impose penalties that harsh for lugging one's bike across a rail yard.

And, drew1946, after watching the video of the cop chasing the motorcyclist and getting his car stuck on the railroad tracks, do you really want the county mounties responsible for law enforcement in railroad yards?

The same incident was thoroughly chewed over a couple of days ago:

http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,1230420



Date: 08/31/06 07:48
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: drew1946

Law enforcement should be under the direct control of civilian authorities, not a private company usng it to further corporate objectives.



Date: 08/31/06 07:53
Realistically....
Author: TexBob

No way a judge will assess the maximum penalty of 1 year and / or $6,250.00,
assuming it's a first offense.

The guy will get a $200 or so fine.



Date: 08/31/06 08:07
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: ddkid

drew1946 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Law enforcement should be under the direct control
> of civilian authorities, not a private company
> usng it to further corporate objectives.

Looks like the "corporate objective" that UP is trying to further here is to keep trespassers off their property, which is entirely within their rights.

And TexBob is right. The judge will likely knock it down to second-degree and give a slap-on-the-wrist fine, unless the guy has been a flagrant and repeat violator, and send him away lighter in the wallet and disposed to ride his bike around the rail yard next time, which will be better for him and for UP.



Date: 08/31/06 08:34
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: 1702

drew1946 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ok, we all know about the lack of jurisdiction by
> state and local authorities over railroad "cops",
> as they laughingly call themselves. My question is
> why not? Who does have jurisdiction over them? In
> this day of civilian review boards, in San Jose we
> have a police "auditor", and various other police
> oversight groups, it it outright idiotic and damn
> scary that these private armies are allowed to
> exist. This is not Lebanon or Somalia, nor do the
> railroads operate in the untamed West and no
> longer need the likes of Joel McCrea to protect
> them, and Barbara Stanwick, from evil.
>
> Who sets the standards for the individuals who are
> hired by railroad police departments? Who sets the
> use of deadly force policy?
> If the states have no oversight responsibility,
> then qualification and certification such as
> California's P.O.S.T. do not apply. I have often
> wondered if the civil libertarians of our time
> even know such power exists and is held by the
> railroads. Why is the public judiciary willing to
> back up this nonsense? I wouldn't be the political
> power of the UP now could it? Perish the thought!
>

This topic is not only redundant, it is totally mis-named. The individual cited hasn't even come to trial yet & the judge will determine his penalty, if any. Doesn't take much to bring the cop-haters out does it? Makes one wonder how much time some of you folks have spent on the wrong side of the law.

For those who have some interest in the facts (as opposed to juvenile rants) about railroad/transit police, check out
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transit_police



Date: 08/31/06 09:03
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: atsfman

I grew up in a railroad family. My dad was a loco engineer for 50 years, my uncles and some cousins also worked for the railroad in various capacities, some still do. I worked for the same railroad after college for 11 years designing and building their computer systems back in the 60's.

I witnessed railroad police several times as I worked in some of the larger terminals interfacing systems, and found them highly trained and highly motivated. As a church pastor now, I have one as a member of my congregation and find him to also be every sense a gentleman, and not power hungry, corrupt or anything else.

Since the author of this thread was so worried about private police running around, I can tell him that the Federal Reserve Banks all have very well trained private police forces, as do many other institutions. The Fed guys hold federal powers, as do some others, most have state and local powers.

Like any other profession, there are those who abuse their power, and there are also those who are unfit for their position. But to label an entire group with the same label is offensive as well as uncalled for. If some of us are so paranoid about such things, at least get the facts correct.

Bob



Date: 08/31/06 09:24
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: drew1946

Did I miss something here? Last I recall, the Federal Reseve IS a government institution.

In addition, any company that would have Dick Cheney on its board of directors, is not exactly an instituion which worries about constitutional rights.



Date: 08/31/06 09:24
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: IC_2024

atsfman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I grew up in a railroad family. My dad was a loco
> engineer for 50 years, my uncles and some cousins
> also worked for the railroad in various
> capacities, some still do. I worked for the same
> railroad after college for 11 years designing and
> building their computer systems back in the 60's.
>
> I witnessed railroad police several times as I
> worked in some of the larger terminals interfacing
> systems, and found them highly trained and highly
> motivated. As a church pastor now, I have one as
> a member of my congregation and find him to also
> be every sense a gentleman, and not power hungry,
> corrupt or anything else.
>
> Since the author of this thread was so worried
> about private police running around, I can tell
> him that the Federal Reserve Banks all have very
> well trained private police forces, as do many
> other institutions. The Fed guys hold federal
> powers, as do some others, most have state and
> local powers.
>
> Like any other profession, there are those who
> abuse their power, and there are also those who
> are unfit for their position. But to label an
> entire group with the same label is offensive as
> well as uncalled for. If some of us are so
> paranoid about such things, at least get the facts
> correct.
>
> Bob


Thank you Bob for your well-said, concise rebuttal. I personally know the head of the Amtrak Bay Area Police Force and he's extremely professional and an all-around great guy. More than once, he's come to my aid in some very potentially dangerous situations.

Think about it... these guys routinely respond to calls in railyards (all located in unsavory locations) without back-up like city and state officers have. They are in one of the most dangerous jobs and are on the front-lines everyday protecting our passengers and property which is a huge task for such a small department.



Date: 08/31/06 09:43
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: CLOAKER

Of course there are some bad ones. Can't say that when I smacked some van in Oakland. Couldn't wait for the UP cop to show up. If only to get the local cop off my back about having to give him my darn driver's license. He (UP) was very professional and sympathetic, and I work for Amtrak to boot! I now hide my drivers license deep in my grip. Of course ya'll have good and bad stories about both RR police and the local PD. So far my experience was good...hope it stays that way!

As for the guy crossing the tracks...I'm sure his family would be first in the cash line if the guy was cut in half, and they'd be gettin way more than six grand. I have no sympathy for healthy adults doing stupid things.

Cheers



Date: 08/31/06 09:57
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: fmw

Of course, had the guy been injured by a train or cut of cars, he would not have wasted time before suing the UP. You can't let people cut through train yards. About 400-500 trespassers die each year out here.

I will allow that six grand is a bit heavy for deterrance.



Date: 08/31/06 10:15
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: fwwr5007

fmw Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will allow that six grand is a bit heavy for
> deterrance.


For his sake, at least he wasn't carrying a camera....

(sorry, couldn't resist)



Date: 08/31/06 10:31
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: atsfman

No the FRB is not a government institution. It is a non profit bank for the banks, the only government control is the chairman of the FRB is appointed by the president. They were established to not be a state bank. National banks are required to be members of the Fed, state banks are not required to. While with the Fed I worked with programming teams from government installations to write interfaces, particularily the IRS. Each Fed Bank covers a certain region of the country, has its own president, board of directors, etc.

I can also tell you that the Fed cops were mostly military vets, some came from other police departments, and they received training second to none. The head bank I was at had a very professional firing range below street surface, that was used for practice by other police agencies.


I will admit that when they hired me, I thought the same, and in the first orientation session for new employees, great emphasis was placed on dispelling the federal government idea.


Bob



Date: 08/31/06 11:01
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: airbrake

drew1946 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In addition, any company that would have Dick
> Cheney on its board of directors, is not exactly
> an instituion which worries about constitutional
> rights.

Ahhh....The real reason for this thread.



Date: 08/31/06 11:01
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: DelMonteX

"Trespassing is a crime, but it seems unjust (not to mention Roguish)
for a company to enforce a rule aimed at saboteurs and terrorists on
a man who cut across the tracks because he was running late for work.
The case is pending trial. "

Seems to me the law was around long before "terrorists" were part of the motivation for enacting said law(s). I would guess that safety was also a reason behind the law. The whole article is one more example of the how unprofessional, and biased the media is. This paragraph underscores that. The uninformed among us would read the article and assume bid bad corporate UP was also the judge and jury.

Sort of interesting that the spoof article a few days back about the re-painting the UP 1996, was more factual than this article (which of course was the dead-giveaway).

Steve Carter
Gig Harbor, WA
My Photography



Date: 08/31/06 11:11
Re: Union Pacific Railroad Police give man $6,250.00 Ci
Author: map

I don't have the stats for the missing years, but to me the increase is an obvious result of 9-11. After 2001 railroads had to be more protective of their property. They could no longer afford to turn a blind eye to tresspassers, especially in terminal areas. I'm not saying the railroad cop thought this gentleman was a terrorist, but you have to start enforcing the rules if you expect people to abide by them.

This man was breaking the law, period. It is still up to the courts to mandate punishment.

map



ddkid Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The article gives a fine example of "How to Lie
> with Statistics."
>
> "Court records show 142 people were cited for
> criminal trespass by Union Pacific cops last year,
> a marked increase from the 38 tickets handed out
> in 2000."
>
> "Last year" was 2005, and it's being compared with
> 2000. What happened in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004?



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