Utah Transit Authority is set for the grand opening of the Salt Lake Regional Airport TRAX line next month, but before riders can climb aboard law enforcement and emergency management personnel are performing some exercises to prepare for a crisis situation.
Today’s exercise involves UTA, airport authorities, the Transportation Security Administration and Salt Lake City bomb squad. They’re responding to a suspicious package located on the train. UTA Police Captain Jason Peterson explains the drill begins with a call from a suspect threatening to blow up the train at the Airport terminal and ends with the Salt Lake City bomb squad retrieving the bomb.
“It’s very critical with airport police and UTA police, you have two different jurisdictions responding to one incident so knowing how we can communicate better, work an incident command better, it definitely helps us to train like this," Peterson says.
Authorities also practiced moving people with physical disabilities off the train safely. Volunteers played eye witnesses on the train who help identify the person who left the package.
Chad Steed, a detective with Salt Lake City police department explained how a robot with cameras is used to identify the package remotely without placing bomb technicians in danger.
“We can see things through it and we have a way to manipulate things, open doors and then we have tools available to us that would help us interrogate the package and find out what’s in it," Steed said.
Thursday’s exercise is the last scenario in a series. Personnel also simulated an airplane crashing near the train.
The Airport TRAX line is scheduled to open April 14th