Amtrak Police

Amtrak Police

Amtrak Police Department
Common name Amtrak Police
Abbreviation APD
Patch of the Amtrak Police Department.
Agency overview
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
United States
Legal jurisdiction Amtrak Rail System
General nature
Specialist jurisdiction Railways, tramways, and-or rail transit systems.
Operational structure
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Police officers 512
Agency executive Polly L. Hanson, Chief of Police

The Amtrak Police Department (APD) is a Amtrak, the government-owned passenger train system in the United States. It is headquartered at Union Station in Washington, D.C., and has about 505 sworn police officers, most of whom are stationed within the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak's busiest route.

This quasi-federal agency has primary jurisdiction on Amtrak stations nationwide, trains, rights-of-way, maintenance facilities and crimes committed against Amtrak or its passengers.

Most Amtrak police officers are trained at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center[1] although some recruits may be certified through a local police academy.


  • Authority 1
  • Rank structure and insignia 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Amtrak Police SUVs at a Washington, D.C. station in July 2011.

Created by Congress, Amtrak’s enabling legislation under the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970, now codified starting at 49 U.S.C. 24101, established the authority for Amtrak to have its own police force. The statutory authority was unique at the time and included interstate police powers. The Amtrak rail police law, now found at 49 U.S.C. 24305 (e), states as follows:

(e) Rail Police. —Amtrak may employ rail police to provide security for rail passengers and property of Amtrak. Rail police employed by Amtrak who have complied with a state law establishing requirements applicable to rail police or individuals employed in a similar position may be employed without regard to the law of another state containing those requirements.

In sum, Amtrak police officers have the same police authority as a local or state law enforcement officer within their jurisdiction. They investigate various types of crime that occur within and around stations, trains and/or right of ways. Since after the September 11, 2001, attacks on American soil, APD has become more terrorism-focused. Such mission shift became even more prevalent after the Madrid train bombings in 2004. It maintains a robust K-9 division composed of patrol and bomb dogs. APD officers constantly work in partnership with federal, state and local law enforcement to perform their duties in accordance with the agency's mission to protect America's railroads. In theory, officers have jurisdiction in all the 46 states where Amtrak operates but in practice are stationed in busier locations.

Rank structure and insignia

Title Insignia
Chief of Police
Assistant Chief
Deputy Chief
Lieutenant (No longer used)
Detective (Gold Badge/insignias)
Special Agent (Gold Badge/insignias)
Criminal Investigator
Police Officer

See also


  1. ^ FLETC partners

External links

  • Official website
  • Amtrak
  • Testimony of Amtrak Police Chief Ernest R. Frazier before the House Transportation Committee Subcommittee on Railroads