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Staying safe with NS police

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Paul Claus and K-9 Pepik
Paul Claus, an NS North Jersey police agent, and K-9 Pepik helped provide Super Bowl security. As a partner in Operation Rail Safe, NS police assist the New Jersey Transit Police Department on periodic sweeps of transit stations for hidden explosives, as Claus and Pepik are pictured here doing.

Norfolk Southern police turn in ‘Super’ performance

Lance Pines and K-9 Bek
Lance Pines, an NS North Jersey police
agent, and K-9 Bek are pictured in a New
Jersey Transit station before conducting a
sweep for hidden explosives as part of
Operation Rail Safe. They helped provide
Super Bowl security.

For Norfolk Southern’s police contingent in Northern New Jersey, it’s probably just as well that the hometown favorite Giants or Jets didn’t make Super Bowl XLVIII. The railroad officers would not have had much time to watch – they were hard at work.

NS police worked alongside the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, New Jersey Transit Police Department, and state and local law enforcement to help provide security before, during, and after the game, said Bob Wisowaty, NS special agent in charge in Elizabeth, N.J.

About a year and a half of planning went into the event. Homeland Security provided grants for NS police to receive incident-command training at Texas A&M University structured around the federal government’s national incident command system.

“It was amazing how much planning went into this,” Wisowaty said. “It was a major undertaking by regional law enforcement and first responders.”

NS’ Croxton Yard, which handles intermodal and mixed freight, is near the MetLife Stadium where the Super Bowl was held and is within walking distance of the New Jersey Transit’s Secaucus Junction station, a major hub for fans attending the game. In addition to protecting NS rail property from trespassers, NS police officers were assigned to the FBI for counterterrorism assistance and to the New Jersey Transit’s Secaucus Junction Emergency Operations Center.

Every officer in NS’ Northern New Jersey territory, including Wisowaty, was deployed on game day. Wisowaty’s detail consisted of 15 special agents, three supervisory special agents, and two K-9 teams. Two additional NS police K-9 teams, from Harrisburg, Pa., and Columbus, Ohio, also participated, as did a supervisory special agent from Camden, N.J. The K-9 teams conducted pregame explosive sweeps of transit rail cars and buses and worked at the MetLife Stadium rail station on game day to detect hidden explosives. No major incidents occurred during the event, Wisowaty said.

“The NS team excelled,” he said. “They came to work, did their jobs, and represented NS honorably.”

Around Croxton Yard, NS operates on tracks owned by New Jersey Transit, including the rail line that serves the passenger rail station at MetLife Stadium. Because freight rail traffic near the stadium was restricted on game day, Wisowaty said NS police worked with NS transportation to meet with customers in advance to ensure they received essential deliveries days before the game.

David Gooden, Harrisburg Division superintendent, said employees at Croxton Yard and in Operations Service and Support in Atlanta did an outstanding job making sure NS met customers’ shipping needs.

“They did such a good job coordinating with the customers that it was seamless – it was a nonevent for transportation,” Gooden said. “It was just handled very well.”