Police check cars, trucks traveling on Key Bridge

Bomb, chemical search is first in series of drills

November 18, 2003|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Maryland Transportation Authority Police used dogs and mirrors to check vehicles for bombs and hazardous chemicals last night on the Key Bridge as part of a security exercise that will be duplicated at other state tunnels and bridges.

Police set up security checkpoints from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. at both sides of the bridge - at the tollbooths on the Baltimore County side and along the Beltway on the bridge approach in the city.

Transportation authority Police Chief Gary W. McLhinney said that no threat had been made to the bridge, but police wanted to test and refine security measures.

Police stopped and searched 365 vehicles out of 1,095 that passed through the security check, said Cpl. Gregory Prioleau, a police spokesman.

Two motorists were arrested - one for driving under the influence of alcohol, the other for possession of counterfeit compact discs and DVDs.

McLhinney said that such tests will be performed at other bridges and tunnels overseen by the Maryland Transportation Authority - including the Bay Bridge and Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor tunnels - in coming months.

The security checks will be similar to those performed by officers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in the months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, officials said.

McLhinney declined to say when the other tests would occur, but said the exercises would allow police to tailor security measures for each bridge or tunnel.

Police used two bomb-sniffing dogs to check stopped vehicles, as well as mirrors to check the undercarriages, Prioleau said.

McLhinney said the test was expected to cost about $2,000 - money to pay road maintenance workers helping to set up traffic cones.

Twenty-eight transportation authority police officers were assigned to the checkpoints as part of their regular shifts.

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