- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 11, 2001

Metro officials are considering installing cameras to monitor passengers on its buses and subway cars as part of an overhaul of its security plans in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
Metro spokesman Ray Feldmann said the transit agency is "developing a list of other security enhancements" that include the installation of the cameras on its 1,400 buses.
"It's so we know where a Metro bus is at any given time," Mr. Feldmann said.
He said a discussion about placing cameras in each bus was prompted by the Oct. 3 incident in Tennessee in which a Croatian immigrant slashed the throat of a Greyhound bus driver, grabbed the wheel of the bus and crashed it, killing six persons, including himself.
The cameras would capture images that would be sent to Metro's downtown headquarters through a wireless communications system, Mr. Feldmann said. Early estimates for the system is $20 million, he said, adding that Metro already has requested another $20 million from the federal government to enhance security.
Discussions about cameras on the rail cars are in the "theoretical" stage right now, he said.
Other security improvements Metro is considering include the placement of a motion-detector system along the perimeter of subway tracks and an enhanced identification system so unauthorized personnel cannot enter sensitive areas along its 103-mile subway system.
Mr. Feldmann said Metro was working on several programs before the Sept. 11 attack to increase security in the event of a terrorist attack, such as participating in a $17 million federal program to test chemical- and biological-weapons sensors placed inside some of its stations. Digital recorders also are being attached to surveillance cameras in Metro's 83 subway stations.
Meanwhile, Metro officials said they are increasing police patrols and other security measures in the wake of Tuesday's incident at the Green Line Southern Avenue station, where a man wielding a handgun sprayed the air of a rail car with a substance later determined to be cleaning fluid.
The station was closed for more than four hours after the suspect, Kenneth Ranger, 23, sprayed the substance and had to be wrestled to the ground by two police officers.
Thirty-five persons who came in contact with both the substance sprayed from the bottle and the pepper spray police used complained of nausea, headaches and dry eyes. Mr. Ranger, who Metro officials said has a long criminal record, including drug charges, also fired off a round from his gun.
He has been charged with first-degree attempted murder and other charges.
Police and fire sources conceded yesterday they first thought the incident was a biological- or chemical-weapons attack and Cpl. Mark Brady of the Prince George's County Fire Department said Tuesday that illnesses caused by biological agents such as anthrax or smallpox may not present themselves for weeks.
"We cannot positively rule out [biological agents]," Mr. Brady said. "There is a small, minute possibility that it could be bio."
Metro was spooked again yesterday when a suspected natural-gas leak closed two heavily used Red Line stations Gallery Place-Chinatown and Judiciary Square and raised the specter of a terrorist attack. Metro does not use natural gas in any part of its system and hazardous-materials teams could not find any gas in the system.
"There was an odor, but there was no instrumental detection of any gas," D.C. fire department spokesman Alan Etter said, adding whatever gas there was probably dissipated naturally.
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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