May 27, 2018

Railroad Police, Modern Day Pinkertons

From Wikipedia:

"Section 1704 of the U.S. Crime Control Act of 1990, provides that: "A railroad police officer who is certified or commissioned as a police officer under the laws of any one state shall, in accordance with the regulations issued by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, be authorized to enforce the laws of any other state in which the rail carrier owns property."

It was 3AM. I was lying in bed when the telephone rang telling me that the Railroad Police were in nearby Brown's Summit, North Carolina and wanted me to come tow a pick-up truck off the railroad tracks. I didn't know there really was such a thing as railroad police but my boss assured me there was so I quickly dressed, got in the wrecker, and made my way to Brown's Summit.

There I met the railroad police for the first and last time in my life.

Some drunk fool had decided to go all wild west and try to rob a freight train using his Toyota pick-up. He apparently had no plan as to how he would get aboard the train as he was acting alone but he'd gone cowboy and intended to take that train by whatever means he might dream up in his drunken stupor.

As you can imagine, he never boarded the train and was taken into custody. At the request of the railroad police, the local authorities carried him to the Guilford County jail and I winched his truck out and towed it to impound.

Yes, there is such a thing as railroad police. It was at the request of President Abraham Lincoln that Allan Pinkerton created the first railroad police in the USA. They have powers in all 50 US states. But unless you go messing with the railroads or railroad properties you'll probably never see them.