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Officials Test Response to Crisis on Airport TRAX Line

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

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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