Poll: How do you feel about cops searching CTA riders for bombs in bags?

Chicago police plan to begin randomly testing bags of CTA rail riders for explosives starting Nov. 3.

Up to six Chicago police officers will set up outside the turnstiles at select Chicago rail stations – usually downtown – and ask riders to submit to a screening. Police will swab the exterior of the bag with a cloth. The cloth will then be inserted into a machine that detects explosive compounds. The entire process shouldn’t take more than a minute.

Any passenger who refuses will be refused entrance and could be subject to arrest.(Under what charge I am not sure.)

Police in a number of U.S.  cities are already screening passengers, including body searches.

What do you think of this development?

Chicago police screen CTA passenger bags for explosives. (Chicago Tribune photoby Heather Charles)

Chicago police screen CTA passenger bags for explosives. (Chicago Tribune photoby Heather Charles)

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  • Does anybody actually think that there is going to be a "fair and impartial" selection of people to force to miss their train??

    Want to see the latest "all points directive" from the desk of Jon Burge?

    They couldn't think of something better to do with the money........ LIKE ACTUALLY CATCHING CRIMINALS!!!

    They D E S E R V E all the Lawsuits that are going to come from this Crap (I will call Jesse and Al my Damm self -- and I hate their guts).

  • For once I agree with you.

  • I'm thinking that Tsarnev had his bombs in a pressure cooker. The backpack isn't going to give off any odor.

    People point out that if CTA security is so lax that they can't prevent someone from painting brand new cars in Wilmette, this is just a feel good measure.

    CTA does enough to sabotage itself.

  • Can't vote for any of the 3 choices as worded. I'm OK with swabbing the exterior of the bag with a cloth if that's all they're going to do. Can't say I'm all right with "anything" else if I don't know what it is. I don't think an exterior swab violates my civil rights. And I'm not unsure about any of the above statements.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    And if it causes you to miss your train, and be late for work (some Bosses can get R E A L L Y Crappy about that)

    "Too bad" you say.....

  • I didn't say any such thing.

  • In reply to CCWriter:

    I did not mean that CCWriter said that -- I meant that's what CTA and The City's response would be: "Too Bad" (like the #11 and #31 buses)

    Sorry for the misunderstanding......

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    Would rather see conductors on the train to ensure order and take care of undesirables.

  • In reply to Seth:

    3 cops at 2 stations each is a lot cheaper than increasing the rail personnel by 60%.

  • In reply to Seth:


  • I think it just might cause some lone wolf loon to do something, just to prove how ineffective it is.
    I think it's going to be extremely counterproductive.
    I also wonder how many false positives they'll find. There are some chemicals that mimic explosives or in the case of nitroglycerin tablets for heart patients, are very low doses of an explosive.

    On at least one occasion, a radiation detector in a downtown train station gave out an alarm, but it turned out that a passenger had a thorium heart stress test that morning & the detector registered that slightly radioactive substance.

    Or will it be like the way the sheriffs ramp up the Gauss on the metal detectors at the Daley Center every once in a while. There isn't any evidence of a threat, they just do it for a short time, because again, creating huge numbers of false positives, which causes long, long lines to enter, which then cause the sheriffs to get pissed at them, causing them to get sloppy, which can cause something dangerous getting through.

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    This is idiocy at its finest. No credible threats but just to be safe we are going to do it anyways. We can't screen everyone because that would violate the 4th Amendment per previous Supreme Court rulings so we will do it randomly because that is not considered a violation per previous Supreme Court rulings. If you refuse, you will be denied entrance at said station but you can always board at the next station with no problem. We will do every 3rd, 5th, 10th person randomly and that will make us safer because we have those precautions in place but what if we are screening every 10th person and the 8th one actually has stuff on him and we missed him? Oh well, now we can make it so everyone HAS to be screened from now on and we can do that because of all the people we had on our side when we first started this whole screening business who believe that putting "safety measures" in place is a good thing because of some unidentified threat and didn't bother to critically think about what we are doing because if they did, they would of seen everything we did totally contradicted everything else we did.

  • Will everyone PLEASE drop that "randomly" BullS**t -- unless we get a Whole New Police force, this is still "Chicago", and everybody KNOWS what is going to happen (or is that the idea).

  • No one is asking the right question, which is:

    Which "nephew" (wink, wink) will be profiting from this nonsense?

  • What a waste of time. Anyone serious enough about bringing a bomb on a train will easily be able to avoid the 2 stations they are stationed at, especially when they announce it will mostly be Loop stations.

    I can see this failing miserably.

  • Big brother is watching.

  • When I saw a news report say it was "voluntary" I knew this was not the case. If you say no, you can't get on the damn train!!! What kind of voluntary is that? If I see cops, I'm leaving for another station. It's bad enough I've got broken escalators to deal with that won't be fixed until sometime next year, and now this. Chicago is trying too much to be like New York and not succeeding. Epic fail. :(

  • In reply to mulder42:

    It is about as voluntary as the airport search, and certainly more voluntary that having to stand in the security line when you get involuntarily called to jury duty (and I'm sure every adult who lives in Cook County has had to do that several times).

    If you don't like it, see if Uber will take you and your bomb. That's what "voluntary" means.

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    It doesn't seem very intrusive as it is described. I really wonder how they can arrest anyone who refuses the swab. Has a law been passed covering the crime of 'Refusal to Swab'? Peter J. Puleo Author "Cop on the Scene" available on Amazon.

  • In reply to Peter Puleo:

    It isn't for "refusing the swab," it is for trying to enter the turnstile after refusing the swab. I suppose that's trespass.

    In any event, if it is only at 2 stations downtown, I suppose one could walk to the next station 2 blocks away.

  • In reply to jack:

    Somehow the Sun Times came to the same conclusion I did about walking a couple of blocks to the next station.

  • This is just a little silly. It'll slow down boarding and people could easily just go to another station if they really are trying to get something on board. Unless they're going to do a large number of adjacent stations at one time, this is incredibly ineffectual. Spend that money on something that will improve service instead.

  • In reply to Myshkin:

    On your last point, it is a federal grant to the Chicago Police for that, not CTA money.

  • I saw this set up at LaSalle Blue Line station in the PM rush yesterday. Lots of standing around and I didn't see any checks. I didn't stick around long enough to watch. They had tables and some signs posted further out before you got close to the turnstiles which would warn you before you got even close and could turn around and leave. Security theater.

  • In reply to chris:

    That location implies that the bombers are coming either from the financial district or Metra via Union Station. Neither is very likely.

    There was a movie on a digital channel about someone repeatedly bombing a Metra train (apparently Source Code, which, other than calling it "Chicago Commuter Railroad"* looked far more spectacular than trying to bomb some CTA car.

    *Someone noted in the Trivia portion of imdb that a Metra train had a CTA map.

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