At PracticalAdultInsights, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Railroad police are law enforcement officers who are responsible for maintaining the safety and security of rail yards, trains, and associated sites. These law enforcement professionals are typically employed by the railroad, but they have the same authority as police officers who work for the government, and they often cooperate with government law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute crimes. As with other members of the law enforcement community, railroad police are primarily concerned about public safety.
The history of railroad policing is almost as long as the history of railroads. From the early days of railroading, railroad companies realized that they needed security forces to address issues such as theft, trespassing, and vandalism. Railroad policing is much the same today, with some changes to address issues such as terrorism and sabotage.
In order to work for the railroad police, someone must complete the same training offered to other peace officers, which includes attending a law enforcement academy, and they must pass physical tests, background checks, and exams which are designed to confirm knowledge and competency. While railroad police usually work for a railroad, they can also work for transit agencies and the government, depending on how policing is organized in the nation or region where they work.
Railroad police are concerned with violations of the law which take place on trains and in train yards and train stations. A major concern is trespassing, because trespassing threatens the security of the railroad and it can be very dangerous for the trespassers. Railroad police also deal with issues like traffic control around railroad property, train hoppers who attempt to a hitch a free ride on the train, citing people for failing to stop at railroad crossings when directed to do so, and arresting vandals who damage property which belongs to the railroad. They can also apprehend criminals for whom warrants have been issued, and cooperate with law enforcement investigations.
Some railroad police ride along with the train, and are part of the crew which ensures passenger comfort and safety. Railroad police can also be stationed in train stations and train yards, providing assistance to the public, addressing criminal activity, and creating a visible security force. While many railroad police are interested in trains and the history of trains, a love of trains is by no means required to become a railroad police officer, and in fact some never even ride the train.