The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration has recognized the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) as one of 17 rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation that earned TSA’s highest rating of “Gold Standard” based on their most recent Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) for their dedication to building a strong security program.
“I commend PSTA for their commitment and hard work that this level of achievement requires,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “TSA recognizes the continued dedication individual transit agencies demonstrate every day to ensure the safety of travelers nationwide.”
The TSA’s BASE program is a voluntary comprehensive review of transit agency security programs focusing on multiple categories such as an agency’s security plans, security training, drills/exercise programs, public outreach efforts and background check programs.
“We were thrilled to receive this recognition from the Department of Homeland Security. PSTA has long been dedicated to ensuring the highest level of safety and security for our more 13 million customers we serve each year,” said PSTA CEO Brad Miller. “It’s a testament not only to the hard work of our safety staff, but to each one of our more than 500 professional operators and maintenance technicians who make safety and security their priority every day."
Staff in PSTA’s Safety and Security Division work closely with Pinellas County Emergency Management in case of a hurricane or other local emergencies, and they coordinate drills and activities with the Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and other agencies.
PSTA is currently working on a project to develop a training program for first responders that will outline proper techniques for handling PSTA’s specialized vehicles during an incident response. This effort will also include a public education campaign that will help citizens – riders and non-riders alike – become more aware of their surroundings and encourage active participation in maintaining a safer community.
~Cyndi Raskin-Schmitt, RidePSTA blog editor