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Bomb Sniffing Dogs and Random Bag Searching at Petworth Metro This Morning

by Prince Of Petworth May 31, 2017 at 10:30 am 20 Comments

MTPD Notice from 2010

“Dear PoPville,

At Petworth metro station this morning. Multiple MPD officers with dogs and these machines that were searching through people’s bags before getting on the metro. Any idea why? Bomb threat?”

Metro Transit Police have been doing random searches since at least 2008. We also spoke about random inspections in 2010.

Explanation from 2010:

  • NH Ave Hiker

    I remember this happening every so often when I commuted from Petworth.

  • GBinCH

    I’m glad to see this. Metro is a soft target for any form of attack. I’m not saying random searches at one station will do all that much, but I do like seeing better police presence on the metro.

    • […soft target for any form of attack]

      …then they should be searching bags at Fort Toten where the inboud traffic is about 5 to 10 times what it is at Petworth. Except that…they’d have a riot on their hands.

      They choose Petworth because the traffic is relatively light and they can station 5 white officers there to try and intimidate the neighborhood residents. This is exactly what was happening the first time I got stopped in 2012. I refused the search (I was carrying controlled unclassified information from a client), and turned to leave. The thug with a badge that had confronted me shouted that if I took one more step he’d have me arrested. I whirled on him and asked, “On what charge?” He gawked…I left.

      • Herbie

        Eye roll

  • illinoisandjefferson

    i must’ve just missed this. i hopped on the train there at 8:40. scary.

  • Bobert

    “Any idea why?” – security theater, designed largely to increase user anxiety

    • Anon

      Yep, these are all about security theater. I’ve never been asked to submit to a search (and I would refuse if I were asked) but I have been questioned by an officer for taking photos of one.

  • EcceNerdo

    Am I the only one irked by the erosion of our 4th amendment rights? Oddly as a white male I’ve never been asked to submit to one, but I’d turn around, read them the 4th amendment, and take a Via to work, which is probably cheaper and faster anyways.

    • 4th Amendment Believe

      Nope — and I’m right with ya. I’m not showing papers or submitting to random searches for this security theater crap.

    • Anonymous

      “Oddly as a white male I’ve never been asked to submit to one”
      Don’t read too much into that. I (also white male) have been stopped more times than I haven’t. And people will disagree but I don’t think what they do amounts to “unreasonable.” I find it mostly annoying, unnecessary, and pointless, but not unreasonable to me. (I try to keep in mind that when something horrible happens here in DC we’ll be tripping over ourselves to praise our first responders and law enforcement for protecting us from harm. They don’t get experience by sitting at the station waiting for calls to come in.)

    • Anony

      Because you are in public space riding public transit. Please let them do their jobs or you could opt out of riding Metro if that bothers you so much. I for one happily submitted to a bag search as it didn’t bother me one bit.

      • EcceNerdo

        So, if a key means of transportation doesn’t allow me to be secure in my belongings, where do we draw the line on unreasonable search and seizure? More people have been killed on the streets from shootings this year and, to the best of my knowledge, these searches have prevented precisely zero bombings and shootings. If safety is paramount, why don’t we have cops randomly searching people for guns, the thing that is actually killing people?

        • anon

          @EcceNerdo. And they’d ask you to read MacWade v. Kelly, which found such searches within the bounds of the 4th amendment. Also, I’m not white and I live in Petworth, and I’ve never been stopped for one of these. I see white people stopped all the time. Calm down.

      • wdc

        DHS ran tests of TSA efficacy a year or two ago. The TSA missed nearly every bomb, gun, and knife the undercover agents brought through. 95% failure rate. And that’s with xray machines and chemical sniffers and every other toy Congress could cram into their porkbarrels.
        And you think the MPD is making you safer by peeking into your purse?
        They aren’t. They COULD, by doing actual police work– following up on tips, monitoring known criminal actors, arresting **and holding** violent criminals (yes, some of that is the DA’s fault, but plenty of cops have declined to bother with the paperwork of an arrest). But instead, they’re milling around metro stations, joking and drinking coffee, and occasionally putting on a show for the crowd.
        Fcuk that noise.

        • Ben

          But they are really good at finding that bit of water you left in your bottle!

        • Pleasanter

          +1. The behavior I regularly see exhibited by MPD does not inspire one lick of confidence.

        • just my opinion

          I am sure MPD like other public servants, have some great cops and some lesser ones (who we hear about on PoP), but it is still public service and I would not sit at my computer in my risk-less cubicle world and say all officers are lazy/don’t work. MPD was part of the Pentagon response and there are good officers (who sometimes comment on this site, and provide really informative perspectives).

        • textdoc

          Wouldn’t this be Metro Transit Police, not D.C.’s MPD?

  • SamZen


  • crayons

    Regardless of opinion on whether this is right or wrong, what legal mechanism allows circumvention of the 4th amendment regarding search and seizure? There are no warrants. Just don’t understand….


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