Approximately 50 police officers participate in anti-terror drill during rush hour.
By Kavitha Cardoza
Metro police swarmed Union Station for a anti-terrorism training exercise this morning. It's part of a three day drill that will involve more than 200 first responders from surrounding counties as well as the FBI.
Michelle Alsted takes the red line every morning from Silver Spring to Union Station. She looks around, surprised by police carrying machine guns and leading sniffer dogs.
"This is new," she says. "They're not normally here. I've never seen them before".
Approximately 50 police participated in what Metro is calling "Blue TIDE," which stands for Terrorism Identification and Deterrence Effort. The Deputy Police Chief for Metro, David Webb, says officers spread out near the metrocars and buses, making eye contact with commuters and looking for suspicious packages. He says this is also a visible reminder to commuters to be alert.
"There are 1.2 million people in this system everyday," he says, "and we really rely on them to say something. The old slogan 'if you see something say something' is really what we're looking for."
Commuters and police will have another chance to practice tomorrow and Thursday, with scenarios involving bombs and shootings.