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Review of Law Enforcement Authority for Railroad Police

Project ID: 

At the request of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, we reviewed the authority, duties, and use of railroad police, particularly for non-law enforcement purposes. We found that: law enforcement authority for railroad police derives from the States; while employee-related matters comprise a very small part of the overall caseload, there still were almost 1,000 such cases in 2003, and; of the six specific instances brought to our attention for review, some cases did not reflect an appropriate, prudent application of police resources.

We observed that railroads, in general, can benefit from guidance governing the conduct of employee investigations; policies governing employee-related matters for which police involvement would be merited; internal affairs programs; and collection and maintenance of accurate and sufficiently comprehensive police activity data. We also recommended that the President of Amtrak request that the Inspector General review a specific case to determine the propriety of the railroad police actions and the adequacy of the subsequent investigation, and perform an assessment of the adequacy of the Amtrak Police employee incident policy and procedures and internal affairs program.