Posted by louis capwell on April 18, 2010 
And it's antagonistic captions like this that keep us at odds with law enforcement the nation over. Glad he was such a "nice guy" about things, wouldn't want you sending off a nastygram to the nation's captial - I trust you'd sign it with your real name, instead of the alias you hide behind on this website.
Posted by Marty Bernard on April 19, 2010 
Note, L. A. Union Station is privately owned. It's not Amtrak's or Metrolink's. So Amtrak's photo policy does not apply.
Posted by Mitch Goldman on April 19, 2010 
This is a classic image - glad you were able to keep it secure and post. I think we are now all familiar with such a scene yet your remarks tell of the tale that could've gone either good or bad and I'm glad there is still civility in this nation. I have no problem, nor should anyone, with security being what it is considering the threats but that's all it should be, surveillance, not prohibition. In a situation like this (no train as main subject), I could see the perceived threat.
Posted by EL ROCO Photography on April 19, 2010 
Marty, thanks for the comment. The fact that Amtrak leases space from the the private land owner at LAUST does preclude the enforcement of their policy on the space that they lease. For instance behind the ticket counter, in their crew and baggage areas or on their trains. But those are all areas where they have exclusive use and/or control of the area, rather than the open platform. The open areas are where I question the enforceability of the policy. Louis, I appreciate your comment also. In answer to your question, of course I would have put my name and contact information on my letter to the Director of Amtrak. It would have gone on my letterhead as well so they would be fully informed as to just who, and what I am. I agree with you, what is the point in sending anonymous letters anyway. Also, since it seems you have a certain interest in this subject, perhaps you may wish to engage me by private e-mail rather than posting additional comments here.
Posted by EL ROCO Photography on April 19, 2010 
Sorry for the error, the first part of my post should say "Marty, thanks for the comment. The fact that Amtrak leases space from the the private land owner at LAUST doesn't preclude the enforcement of their policy on the space that they lease."
Posted by KWestRail on April 19, 2010 
The way I understand the photo policy is that unless you are a ticketed passenger, you are not allowed to photograph trains from an Amtrak platform. Since this is a station used by other agencies besides Amtrak, then they have no legal grounds. But then again, it all comes down to interpretation of the policy that decides how it is implemented. Maybe should post the official policy on this website for all photographer's to have access to and to better understand where and what they can photograph. Nevertheless it is a great disappointment to have such a policy even if you are holding a ticket for travel.
Posted by Nscalemike on April 19, 2010 
"El Roco" nice platform work as always, this one is one of your more engaging images.
Posted by EL ROCO Photography on April 20, 2010 
K-Man, Amtrak's policy states the following “[t]he taking of photographs and/or videos is permitted within public access areas on Amtrak property and as otherwise stated in Section III.” Consequently, if the platform is open to the public as here (not fenced or signed) then according to the policy, I have a right to be there and shoot pictures. The policy next states that “[p]hotography and video recording within restricted areas are prohibited.” Ok, so what is a Restricted Area? The policy states that a Restricted Area is “is any area not open to or occupied by the public, or is open to or occupied by the public on a limited basis. Signage, building design and physical barriers, i.e. fencing, bollards, etc., may also distinguish a restricted area from a public area. So that is an area where the public doesn’t usually go like behind the ticket counter, the employee lunchroom, the baggage and/or maintenance areas, car shops, trains, engines etc. The policy additionally states (and for the picture above, this is the important part) “[r]estricted areas include but are not limited to the following: 1. Platforms (ticketed passengers are exempt).” So if you are a ticketed passenger as I was when I shot the above picture, even assuming that I was in an Amtrak defined Restricted Area, I was allowed to be where I was and engage in photography because I had a ticket and therefore was exempt per subsection (1), of Section III. See, I think it is a fabulous policy because I am allowed to shoot pictures like this and my activities (and yours) are defendable in court of law without even employing the 1st Amendment. Here is the URL for Amtrak’s photo policy . Nscalemike, I would agree, the term “engaging” is an appropriate way to describe the scene in this instance. As always, thanks for the comment.
Posted by Stu Levene on April 23, 2010 
This is an argument that will be raging for a long time yet. The interpretation and enforcement of federal, state and operator's rules is obviously inconsistent and varies from operator to operator. I was stopped in Miami by a Tri-rail 'Asset Protection Officer' who threatened to cite me for photography, claiming that it was "against the law to photograph trains in this country." I can see what you guys are up against. Here in the UK the situation is not as bad, but we still have some security personnel on stations who don't know the rules. El Roco - who was the LEO employed by in this instance?
Posted by EL ROCO Photography on April 23, 2010 
Stu: The gentleman depicted in the image is an Amtrak Police Officer and has all the powers in the State of California that a normal police officer employed by a city government would have. He actually has more power than a California peace officer because his authority does not end at the border, rather he is vested in all 50 States and the District of Columbia. What was interesting was that there were probably five or more Los Angeles County Sheriffs Officers standing around on the opposite side of the train in the picture, and in other places where they could see me, so it is not like the Amtrak agent was the only member of the law enforcement community out on the platforms that day. And yes I agree, the fight for personal rights will rage on forever as it should. Further, the fact that a bunch of people from your part of the world came over here and started a new program, shows that the struggle for personal freedom from governmental oversight is not a new one.
Posted by Andy Leffler on May 4, 2010 
I would also like to note the train in the back left of the picture. Don't know if you noticed it but nice capture of a variety of things...kudos
Posted by Gabe Argenta on April 12, 2011 
I'm loving this, hahaha!
Posted by Dash9RailFan on August 5, 2011 
All I can think of is, "STOP! In the name of love... before you break my heart - think it oh-oh-ver..." LOL Nothing define's the "all dressed-up with no where to go" mentality of this nation's attempt at preventing the next big terrorist attack than the purity of this image. Many, many well-intended, well trained officers basically hyped into a perpetual red alert state, with no clue as to what is really happening with respect to an attack, reaL OR IMAGINED. And who get's the brunt of this hyper-vigilence? Rail fans - the very folk who could indeed be an asset to law enforcement. However, rather than see us as an asset, rather than embrace an extra asset of eyes and ears (including our photographic and video recording gear) we're scorned, questioned, harassed, and ridiculed. Not so long ago, this nation was at war - with Germany and Japan. At that time we enlisted the eyes and ears of regular citizens. Why isn't that being done again - so as to keep an eye at our rail depots, corridors, bus stops, airports, and ports???
Posted by EL ROCO Photography on August 5, 2011 
There is no Federal money to tap into when John Q is involved. As I see it now, all this vigilance is merely a way to secure funding.
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