Lincoln County (LincUP) Community Advisory Panel

LincUP Logo ImageLincUP provides open dialogue on health, safety and environmental issues between representatives of the community and Union Pacific Railroad to promote awareness and understanding for mutual benefit. For a complete listing of members, see 2015 LincUP Panelists.

Questions? Comments?

Contact the LincUP Facilitator, Lorre McKeone.

Meeting Notes: October 26, 2015

Present: Dan Blank, Sally Brecks, Angela Brown, Jeff Everett, Rich Hoaglund, Kim Keeling, Shelly Kelly, Dwight Livingston, Doug Martin, Todd, McKeeman, Brandon Myers, Jack Nichols, Kirsten Parker, Gordon Peeks, Brittany Raymond, June Robinson, Scott Selken, Gary Smith, Kathy Swain, Glynn Wolar. Facilitator: Lorre McKeone.

Absent:  Scott Castillo, Kaleen Dunbar, Neil Deertz, Jim Falcon, Cindy Halligan, John Jones, Lance Polk, Dennis Thompson, Jerry Wilson.

Facilitator: Lorre McKeone

Meeting Notes:

Public Comment Period: No comments
Announcements/Introductions: Our final meeting for the year will be on November 23. Recognition of members completing their 3 year term will be at the January 2016 meeting.
Community Round Table: No announcements.

UPRR Update:

Jeff Everett shared details about a Texas derailment where a locomotive and 45 cars turned over due to weather related flooding. There were no injuries and the crew was able to swim to safety. Positive safety numbers for third quarter set records system-wide and locally. Year to date there has been a 56% reduction in lost work days due to injury and 14% fewer human factor derailments. Offsetting this good news was the one thing UP works hard to prevent. In September, there was a fatality when a conductor on the ground was struck by a train.

Seven day car loadings are 20,000 cars below last year. Coal volume remains weak due to cheaper natural gas prices and adverse political climate for coal use. Automotive is the only sector with higher volumes than last year. The economic forecast is weak, so locally UP jobs have been restructured and employees furloughed. Local performance and customer satisfaction numbers remain strong.

This week Congress votes on extending the deadline for implementation of mandated positive train controls that automatically stop a train in certain circumstances. Wireless and GPS issues persist. If the extension is not approved, the biggest impact would be on passenger trains and those carrying toxic inhalation hazards.

Meeting Topic: Union Pacific Railroad Police Department – Lt. Todd McKeeman (UPRR Special Agent)

The Union Pacific Railroad Police Department is the oldest law enforcement agency west of the Mississippi River. In early days of westward expansion and railroad construction, UPRR special agents were the only law enforcement around. Regions covered by the different Special Agent teams have been aligned with Service Unit boundaries for more coordinated effort. Chief of Police Bob Morrison supervises 220 Special Agents from headquarters in Omaha. Each special agent is assigned to a terminal, a territory or both. Three Special Agents are assigned to the North Platte Service Unit. Lt. McKeeman supervises five other agents in Nebraska. Specialized agents include Public Safety Officers (promoting public safety and rail crossing education), Investigators (working on crimes against the railroad), Hazardous Materials (inspection and response), K-9 operations (using dogs for drug and person detection) and Instructors.

The UP Police Department is also responsible for contract security guards, background investigators and UPRR’s Response Management Communication Center (RMCC). RMCC is the communication center located at UP headquarters in Omaha. Communications specialists take emergency calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, support many UP departments and respond to various incidents. The phone number is 1-888-UPRRCOP. Incoming calls range from hazardous materials releases and criminal activities to vehicles stuck on the track or other unusual or suspicious activities. With a single call, RMCC can put callers in contact with police, haz-mat responders, dispatchers and other UP departments. They coordinate UPRR response to incidents and contact outside emergency response agencies as needed.

UP Police Department objectives include: 1) to provide a safe work environment, 2) to provide police services and 3) to provide response to critical incidents. Specific activities may include investigating crossing accidents, raising public awareness, curbing driver behavior, enforcing traffic laws, engaging in safety blitzes and participating on the service unit Public Safety Committee.

One vital responsibility is cargo security, so trains are regularly inspected for signs of theft or vandalism, trespassers and safety or security defects. Many thefts are discovered in North Platte and tracked back to where the crime occurred. Extra security is provided for certain military and high value loads. This includes frequent inspection when the train is stopped, and monitoring by agents on duty and RMCC when the train is moving.

Another important responsibility is to enforce Union Pacific’s zero tolerance policy against trespassing. Virtually all crimes on railroad property begin with trespassing which exposes employees and the company to unwarranted risk and liability. Employee and citizen reports of trespassers and criminal activity are one of the most important tools used by special agents. When a trespasser is apprehended, special agents first check for outstanding warrants which provide valuable safety information about trespassers who may be known sex offenders, drug abusers or have been violent or used weapons against others in the past. A trespasser’s presence is documented with a photograph and information is gathered to create a record. Most have been contacted for trespassing on UP property in the past and are issued a citation or arrested if appropriate. These contacts are the best deterrents to prevent repeat behavior. Trespassers requiring medical help or shelter are directed to needed services. All trespassers are safely escorted off UPRR property. Citizens or employees who see suspicious people on railroad property are advised to call RMCC (or in emergencies call 911 first and then RMCC). Callers should provide a good description of the suspicious person(s) and direction of travel or last location. If possible maintain visual contact until the Special Agent arrives.

The membership committee met to discuss possible replacements for panel members completing their third year on the panel.


Summary and Strategy

Next meeting: 5:15 p.m. Monday, November 23, 2015

Location: Student Lounge, North Campus, North Platte Community College 1101 Halligan Drive, North Platte.

Meeting Topic: Sandhills Task Force

5:15 p.m. Call to Order
Public Comment Period
5:25 p.m. Announcements and Introductions
5:30 p.m. Community Round Table
5:35 p.m. UP Update
5:45 p.m. Meeting Topic: Sandhills Task Force
Speaker: Shelly Kelly, Program Director
6:30 p.m. Supper Break
7:00 p.m. Committee meetings as needed
7:20 p.m. Summary and Strategy
Plan for next meeting
7:30 p.m. Adjourn