METRO’s blogger Mary Sit announced on Thursday that METRO’s security preparedness has been rewarded:
METRO received top honors Monday when the Transportation Security Administration recognized both our transit security system and our chief of police, Tom Lambert, for his excellent work.
The first award – called “Carrier of Distinction” – placed METRO in the top 5 percent of all transit systems nationwide for emergency preparedeness. As “Carrier of Distinction,” our system was lauded for “superior performance in security program development, planning and execution.”
“That’s pretty significant,” said Lambert.
Pictured above is Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson, Tom Lambert, and Kip Hawley, TSA’s top administrator.
The second award recognized Lambert’s leadership in chairing the 18-month-old “Police and Security Peer Advisory Group.” Members of that group include: New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Philadelphia, Amtrak, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
That’s a pretty impressive list of huge transit agencies. How did Houston’s METRO get to be the leader?
Excellent question, Mary. Some things are very mysterious indeed, as a trip through the blogHOUSTON and PubliusTX archives would indicate.
Just recently, we have Chief Lambert’s less-than-stellar performance when a Danger Train driver ran over a cyclist:
Just after the collision, police said the 29-year-old physician riding her bike appeared to be at fault.
“We know that she was wearing headphones,” Lambert said, “She was riding bike, not looking to what happened.”
Actually, we now know the only accurate part of that statement was when Chief Lambert said she was riding a bike. The Danger Train driver has now been suspended for five days and will be retrained.
We can visit Kevin Whited’s PubliusTX archives to recall numerous instances where Chief Lambert ran to the cameras after a Danger Train accident to berate the victim, and Houston drivers in general, for getting in the way of the train. Lambert even did his schtick for an ad.
How about the time a woman was raped at a METRO bus stop and METRO’s response was to remind riders that they can carry a gun on a bus if they hold a concealed carry permit. And two years after that, a KHOU-11 story detailed that during a 10-month span, there were 326 crimes reported, many violent, at METRO bus stops, but METRO’s police force was concentrated in the downtown area. METRO said there are just too many bus stops for METRO PD to patrol.
But perhaps his finest hour in METRO security preparedness was when he decided to remove all security guards at Park and Rides, thereby turning them into Park and Pillages. His excuse was that security guards were too cost prohibitive. The ensuing cluelessness was truly something to behold:
Most likely these awards are for METRO’s Special Operations Response Team (SORT), an elite counterterror unit that Chief Lambert says has trained with experts from Israel, the FBI, Transportation Security Administration, and other U.S. transit agencies. SORT officers patrol light rail stations and bus transit centers.
Bad guys at bus stops and Park and Pillages need not worry.