Police To Screen CTA Passengers’ Bags for Explosives

The Chicago Police Department said screening will begin Nov. 3

Starting in November, Chicago Transit Authority train passengers' bags will be randomly screened for possible explosive materials as part of a new security procedure. 

The Chicago Police Department introduced the federally funded counterterrorism effort on Friday and said screening will begin Nov. 3.

“While there are no credible threats to Chicago or to the region’s public transportation facilities, Chicago is taking this step, as other major cities in the United States and around the world have already done, to ensure the safety of residents and passengers,” Supt. Garry McCarthy said in a statement.

Each day a mobile explosive screening team will set up at one CTA rail station and randomly select passengers before they pay CTA fare. Their bags will be swabbed with a cloth and tested using a small machine that detects explosives.

If possible explosive materials are detected, officers will ask to inspect the bag. Police said the procedure, which is similar to the one completed during large events in Chicago, will take less than a minute and expect it won't impact customers' commute time.

"The baggage screening process is non-invasive, takes a very short time, and will be done in an open area of the station prior to the customer entering the turnstiles," said Nancy Lipman with the Chicago Police Department's Public Transportation Unit.

If a customer refuses the screening, the rider will be denied access to the train.

The initiative already has been implemented in New Jersey, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Boston and at Amtrak stations.

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