U.S. to boost transport security

The U.S. transit agency has decided to spend about $7 million to place a closed-circuit camera system in subway and train cars as well as develop anti-terrorism training.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved the funding Thursday, speeding up the process after last month's terrorist attacks on London's public transportation system.

The security camera system will be on MTA's fleet of 225 subway and light-rail train cars with all of the images being recorded and stored. There are already cameras on buses and at train stations.

Transit officials said the cameras are capable of panning and zooming in on suspicious people and objects. The devices are also an upgrade from current cameras that provide low-grade images that are not always recorded.

"By the end of the year, we'll have an incredible system in place," said MTA board member David Fleming. "It's a big step forward, and I think the public will feel a lot safer."

The cameras still will have to be monitored by staff looking at TV screens, said Paul Lennon, the MTA's director of intelligence and emergency preparedness. Future upgrades will allow cameras to flash a warning at the control center if something suspicious is detected.

The board awarded a $2.2 million contract to Orange County-based AJK Communications Inc. to design and install cameras, and $3 million to add surveillance personnel and other upgrades. An additional $1.5 million was allocated to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and RailSecure LLC of Florida to jointly develop training for non-police personnel to recognize and deal with terrorist weapons, the AP reports.

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