Amtrak Office of Security Strategy and Special Operations (OSSSO), Amtrak Police, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel and officers from approximately 100 commuter rail, state, and local police agencies mobilized today for the largest joint, simultaneous Northeast rail security operation of its kind, involving 150 railway stations between Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Essex Junction, Vermont.The morning rush-hour multi-force security deployment was NOT in response to any particular threat or incident, but rather a demonstration of an ongoing collaborative effort to expand counter-terrorism and incident response capabilities up and down the Northeast Corridor railway system. Approximately 750,000 rail passengers ride along the Northeast Corridor and other rail systems integrated with the Corridor each day.Over the past few years, terrorist attacks, attempts and plots around the globe have specifically targeted rail and mass transit. The security implications of this activity in the United States, particularly in the region with the greatest concentration of users of public transportation, have spurred the formation of a strong coalition of transportation and law enforcement agencies in the Northeast Corridor area.”We are one team, with one mission, and that is to protect rail and mass transit passengers, patrons and employees from harm, manmade or otherwise,” said Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor. “Without question, this operation provided the longest wall of security ever mobilized along the East Coast. We had hundreds of law enforcement officers across 13 states and Washington, D.C., report to duty as one force this morning, and that is our greatest strength.”The operation enabled TSA and law enforcement officials to further familiarize themselves with their local train stations and rail environment, while establishing a highly visible police and security presence. Amtrak Mobile Team security personnel and TSA agents were deployed to designated locations along the Northeast Corridor area to conduct security activities, including the use of explosive trace detection devices during random passenger bag inspections.Additionally, TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response Teams or VIPR Teams, were mobilized at undisclosed locations to enhance security activities through the use of specialized detection technologies that identify anomalies considered suspicious. The main focus of VIPR operations is to deploy TSA resources to augment local security capabilities and facilitate deterrence through coordinated actions with local transportation entities and law enforcement.”It is critical that we continue to expand and exercise our collective ability to respond to a terrorist threat or incident,” said John Sammon, TSA assistant administrator, Transportation Sector Network Management (TSNM). “Today’s event offers the opportunity to demonstrate in dramatic fashion the force potential and security enhancement value of regional collaboration as TSA joins its professional colleagues throughout the Northeast to increase familiarization with the local stations and provide a highly visible security presence during rush hour.”Amtrak and TSA said similar unannounced exercises will occur in the future along the Northeast Corridor area as well as in other parts of our nation’s rail system as part of an enhanced security strategy. Today’s exercise will be reviewed and used as a method to evaluate personnel and resources required to respond to any future threats or incidents within the railway system.Today’s operation encompassed rail stations in 13 states, including Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia as well as the District of Columbia. Source: TSA. 9.8.2009
But this is a slightly different scenario. The fellows who will grace downtown Long Beach with their presence today are the premier practitioners of their trade, internationally known athletes who maneuver bikes like Michael Schumacher once maneuvered a Formula One car. My knowledge of cycling is painfully scant, although I have paid vague attention to the Tour de France over the years. I’m told Lance Armstrong won’t be competing today, nor will Floyd Landis. I hear Lance Armstrong retired to become a marathon runner, but why not Floyd Landis? Didn’t he win the Tour de France last year? Oh yes, I forgot. He had to take a drug test after it, and failed. Well, anyway, never in my most fractured dreams did I think I would be privileged enough to actually see one of these great extravaganzas in person. Wow, I just can’t wait, although I must admit I have no idea about the proper apparel and decorum since I’m not exactly accustomed to observing a bunch of guys driving bicycles at breakneck speed. I’m not sure the clothes I possess fit in such an atmosphere. I have a lot of baseball caps, but no helmets. Well, I do have an old batting helmet. Would that suffice? As for pants, I have plenty of sweats, but no spandex tights, or spandex shorts. Wonder if I’d be hooted out of downtown if I show up in my sweats, or Levis? As for shoes, I suspect my Guccis would be noticeably out of place, but so would my brown tennis sneakers. Maybe I’ll go bare-footed. I know I’d like to show my deep appreciation for these noble men enlivening our fair city, so perhaps I can do something special for them. I’ve noticed in France where some of the patrons who line the course offer the riders cups of water, or other beverages. Wonder if it would be all right if I pop open a couple of my Dom Perignons, and hand out cups of that smooth-tasting champagne to the riders? Who ever turns down Dom Perignon? I just can’t wait to join the horde today, and I’m know I’ll see such local cycling enthusiasts as the Long Beach mayor, Bob (Bananas) Foster, the Toyota Grand Prix bigwig, Jim Michaelian and, natch, the prominent Long Beach fireman Craig (Five Bellies) Vestermark prowling the course on their bikes, providing Five Bellies still can fit on his. Why, it won’t even surprise me a bit if our beloved former mayor, Beverly O’Neill, bikes all the way from her east side home. Little known fact about Ol’ Bev is that she is quite the cycling devotee. Of course, there is no other sport in the world that has more sheer drama in it than bicycle racing, since the first place finisher isn’t officially accorded as the winner until he officially passes a drug test, which is never a certainty in the wake of so many failures. At least I know I would do well in this area. I’ve been known to have a belt on occasion, but no way do I ply myself with EOP, or any other illegal substance that has resulted in so many cyclists being banned in recent years. A wiseacre friend of my even wanted to bring down one of those old Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” anti-drug flyers from the 1980s and flash it to the cyclists, but I scolded him for such a wicked idea. Why tarnish what should be an unbearably thrilling affair that has me on the threshold of hyperventilation in anticipation? Doug Krikorian can be reached at email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! I have seen so many incredible performances dispensed across the seasons by so many incredible athletes – and there have been so many dramatic knockouts and titillating finishes that it would be an impossibility to list all of them. I was there at the Coliseum when Anthony Davis rang up six touchdowns against Notre Dame and I was there in Philadelphia when a 20-year-old named Magic Johnson scored 42 points to lead the Lakers to the world title against the 76ers and I was there in Memphis when a red-haired center named Bill Walton erupted for 44 points against Memphis State to give UCLA another NCAA title and I was there in Montreal when Roberto Duran decisioned Sugar Ray Leonard in 15 tense rounds and I was there in New Orleans five months later when Leonard caused Duran to utter his infamous no-mas surrender. But never have I had the privilege to see the world’s greatest bicyclists perform their art on the grand stage, as they will today here in Long Beach at the climax of the Amgen Tour of California by doing 10 laps on a 7.3-mile circuit between Ocean and Shoreline Drive and Belmont Shore. Oh, I’ve seen bicyclists perform before, namely a local group of amateurs going through its training regimen at El Dorado Park. But this low-key spectacle didn’t exactly stir my emotions, or leave any memorable imprint other than the irritation of some of the cyclists coming too close to me as I jogged around the park. I am so excited I haven’t been able to sleep soundly the entire week. The suspense is unbearable. My heart’s been pounding even more violently than usual, for I understand I’m going to be touched by sacred history. In 40 years of covering sports, from storied fights involving Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Evander Holyfield, Julio Cesar Chavez and Riddick Bowe to countless Super Bowls and World Series to hundreds of Lakers games to dozens of UCLA basketball games and USC football games to Olympics in Sydney, Atlanta and Los Angeles, I don’t recall having such a feeling of anticipatory anxiety.
Only a few weeks after sealing the Premier League title, Chelsea have been dealt a blow for next season.It’s been confirmed that Eden Hazard, one of the star performers of their triumph, has fractured his ankle while training with his national team, Belgium.The likelihood, then, is that the winger will be unavailable for selection come the start of their title defence in August.Replacing him will be no easy task for Antonio Conte, so with Hazard likely to be out come the opening day of the season, how could Chelsea’s first XI of the 2017/18 campaign look?Scroll through the gallery above to check out the possible line-up. 11 11 6. Centre midfield: N’Golo Kante – Kante seems a bargain signing at £30m, proving he was no one-season wonder at Leicester City. The Frenchman took little time to settle in the Chelsea team and, worryingly for their rivals, is still improving. 2. Centre back: Cesar Azpilicueta – Azpilicueta has taken on the label as the ‘unsung hero’ of the Chelsea team. His role rarely garners the attention it deserves, as his importance to the Blues continues to blossom. His versatility makes him one of Conte’s most key players. 11 3. Centre back: David Luiz – Only a handful of supporters would have predicted Luiz would have such a vital role in Chelsea’s title-winning season. He’s been at the heart of a new-look Blues defence and is likely to remain just as crucial next season. 11 11 11 1. Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois – check out the full possible Chelsea line up by clicking the arrow above, right – Courtois isn’t going anywhere this summer. The Chelsea ‘keeper claimed the Golden Glove in Chelsea’s title-winning campaign and seems fully committed to continuing success at Stamford Bridge. He recently told Sky Sports News that “there is no doubt I will stay” and spoke of his desire to sign a new deal, with two years remaining on his current contract. 8. Left wing-back: Marcos Alonso – Alonso was a surprise performer for Chelsea, contributing six goals and three assists while doing his bit defensively. He thrived in a wing-back role, but Conte might be keen to get in cover for the Spaniard. 9. Right attack: Pedro – Pedro disappointed in his debut season at Stamford Bridge, but has seemed full of confidence under Conte. He scored nine and assisted nine, and his form saw him move ahead of Willian in the pecking order. 11 7. Centre midfield: Tiemoué Bakayoko – Conte is expected to bolster his options in central midfield this summer, with a new partner for Kante anticipated. Chelsea have been linked with a move for Bakayoko for much of this year and various reports claim discussions are taking place. While the 22-year-old is far from the finished article, he’s impressed at Monaco and will improve. 11 5. Right wing-back: Dani Alves – At the end of last week, the Daily Mail reported that Chelsea are considering a move for Dani Alves, as the Brazilian could be made available by Juventus in the summer market. It’s understood that Conte wants competition for Victor Moses on the right flank and is interested by Alves, who has one year remaining on his contract with the Serie A outfit. 11 11 4. Centre back: Gary Cahill – Cahill took over the on-field captaincy role from John Terry and is the leading candidate to be given the armband on a permanent basis this summer, as Terry prepares to leave his boyhood club. He’s led by example and his passion has earned him a place in Chelsea hearts. 11 10. Left attack: Willian – There has been uncertainty over the future of Willian, who made more substitute appearances (19) than starts (15) last season, but injury to Hazard may change Conte’s thinking in the summer market. Manchester United might be left disappointed in their reported pursuit of the Brazilian. 11. Striker: Alvaro Morata or Romelu Lukaku – If reports are to be believed, these are the two strikers topping Conte’s wish list as to who can either compete for a place or replace Diego Costa. The pair scored a combined 40 league goals and are hot property in the market.