Wyoming state lawmakers defeated legislation that would have given railroad security officers the power to arrest, issue citations and use firearms when necessary, according to an article from the Star-Tribune.
Current law allows companies to name reserve deputies in each country, and the deputies are trained to handle emergency situations on rail cars or at loading stations, the article says. With 900 miles of track, Burlington Northern and Sante Fe (BNSF) and the Union Pacific railroads only have one trained security officer each.
Rep. Stan Blake, D-Green River, works for Union Pacific and says he’s been accosted by transients in the railyard late at night. He also says that a security officer wouldn’t have helped him, especially when there’s only one covering 900 miles of track.
However, Rep. Lloyd Larsen, R-Lander, says he isn’t comfortable giving corporations jurisdiction and authority that’s reserved for law enforcement, the Star-Tribune reports.
Every other state, excluding Minnesota, complies with the federal government’s laws on the subject, which give railroad companies significant jurisdiction to police their railroads and railcars, the article notes. Representatives from BNSF state that there have been situations where it took law enforcement two hours to respond.