Union Pacific Special Agents
It may surprise many that Union Pacific has a police department staffed with more than 200 Special Agents. Special Agents have primary jurisdiction over crimes committed against the railroad. The department is responsible for all Union Pacific locations across 32,000 miles of track in 23 states. Its success has served as a model for national crime management; the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s creation in 1907 was closely tied to the Union Pacific Police Department’s approach.
Railroad police are certified state law enforcement officers with investigative and arrest powers both on and off railroad property in most states. They also have interstate law enforcement authority pursuant to federal law.
The railroad police force dates to the mid-1800s, when the number of U.S. Marshals was insufficient to police America's growing rail network. Members were called Pinkertons, named after their originator, Alan Pinkerton. Today, each Class I railroad employs Special Agents across the country to protect America’s rail network.
Crimes investigated include trespassing on railroad rights of way, theft of railroad property, threats of terrorism and derailments.
Special Agents often take a proactive safety and security message to schools, businesses and civic organizations as well as investigate public safety incidents which occur on railroad property.
Railroad police turn to sophisticated surveillance technology and investigative techniques, such as the use of night vision, thermal imagers, K-9 teams, and other equipment. They often work with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies on issues concerning the railroad.
As with all law enforcement professionals, the Special Agent job carries with it a potential for dangerous situations. Union Pacific has created a plaque honoring fallen Special Agents who put their lives on the line for the protection of the railroad they served. Created by UP's Police Department, the plaque includes names, dates and locations of the deaths, and the railroads represented. The plaque is on public display at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Additionally, the names of fallen heroes are submitted to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC.
Special Agents are dispatched by Union Pacific’s Response Management Communication Center.
Requirements to be a Union Pacific Special Agent
Applicants must have attended and graduated from an accredited Police academy, and presently meet certification requirements to be commissioned in their work location. Prior to applying for a Special Agent position, candidates must have three years experience in a public law enforcement agency or military police. A bachelor's degree in criminal justice, police science, public administration or a related field is recommended. Like other positions, Union Pacific posts Special Agent openings in our Careers section.