Sheriff's Office

For Immediate Release

PR #: 2000117
Date Issued: Sep 15, 2020 - 1:04pm

Washoe County Sheriff's Office Rail Auxiliary Team volunteers to support National Rail Safety Week

CONTACT: Sarah Johns
911 Parr Blvd
Reno, NV. 89512
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Volunteers with the Washoe County Sheriff's Rail Auxiliary Team (also known as the RAT Pack), will take part in a nationwide effort to raise awareness about safety at railroad crossings on Saturday morning, September 19th.

September 20th starts National Rail Safety Week and the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Rail Auxiliary Team will be out implementing active awareness at the railroad crossing on Galletti Way in Reno on Saturday September 19th from 9 a.m. through 10 a.m.

Federal statistics show that a person or vehicle is hit by a train about every three hours in the United States. This can happen when someone ignores the warnings at a railroad grade crossing or a person is on the train track where they should not be in the first place. In Nevada, where we have relatively few rail-miles, we do have railroad grade crossing incidents and have had a significant increase in rail trespass events.

The Rail Auxiliary Team is an effort by the Washoe County Sheriff's Office to support the local railroad. It was created to provide a trained force familiar with rail operations and to act as additional eyes and ears along the rail lines within Washoe County. In providing additional observers along these lines, they are able to report suspicious activity such as trespassers, graffiti, or objects on or around the rails as well as reporting any hazards that might interfere with safe railway operations.

The "RAT Pack," will be using the proven method of active awareness to increase driver attention at railroad crossings. A demonstration supported by the Nevada Office of Traffic safety showed a 20% increase in driver reaction at the railroad crossing (slowing down, looking both ways, etc.) by using this method.

The current statistics of train incidents in Nevada are:

Grade Crossings = 2
Trespassing = 3

Grade Crossings = 1
Trespassing = 10

Grade Crossings = 3
Trespassing = 16

Grade Crossings = 1
Trespassing = 12

The Rail Auxiliary Team is composed of volunteers from the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Citizen Corps and is specifically focused on keeping trains running safely through Washoe County. RAT Pack training includes topics such as:

  • How to report trespassers on railroad property
  • Basic railroad operations
  • Worldwide railroad terrorism events
  • Railroad safety
  • Suicide awareness for railroad operations

For more information about the Washoe County Sheriff's Office Citizen Corps click here.

The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.