BNSF Police Department

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The BNSF Police Department is the law enforcement agency of the BNSF Railway. Its headquarters is situated in Fort Worth, Texas.


The current Chief of Police for BNSF is Thomas (Woody) McLain. BNSF maintains a functioning police department staffed with officers given the title of Special Agent with jurisdiction over crimes against the railroad. Like most railroad police, its primary jurisdiction is unconventional, consisting of 34,000 miles of track in 25 western U.S. States. Railroad police are certified state law enforcement officers, authorized under federal law, to operate as such in any state that allows railroad police authority under state law.

BNSF Special Agents may have investigative and arrest powers both on and off railroad property if authorized by the state in which they are working. They carry interstate authority as provided by federal law (Title 49, USC, Section 28101.) This authority means that if railroad police are commissioned in one state, they can work in another, if that state has authorized railroad police, however to the limit allowed by the state they are in.

Special Agents typically investigate major incidents such as derailments, sabotage, grade crossing accidents and hazardous material accidents and minor issues such as trespassing on the railroad right of way, vandalism/graffiti, and theft of company property or customer product.

Special Agents often coordinate and liaise with local, state, and federal law enforcement on issues concerning the railroad and are dispatched nationally through BNSF Headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.

Fallen officers[edit]

Since the establishment of the BNSF Railroad Police Department, 20 officers have died in the line of duty. The following list contains officers from departments that have since merged with the BNSF Police Department. Those departments are: Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Police Department,[1] Burlington Northern Railroad Police Department,[2] Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Police Department,[3] Fort Worth and Denver Railroad Police Department,[4] Northern Pacific Railroad Police Department,[5] and the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Police Department.[6][7]

Officer Date of Death Details
Detective James Rauland
Wednesday, November 1, 1899
Railroad Detective C. S. Calhoun
Wednesday, July 12, 1905
Railroad Detective Charles L. Stewart
Thursday, August 13, 1908
Railroad Policeman Alexander S. Smith
Thursday, February 4, 1909
Special Agent J. A. McClure
Wednesday, January 25, 1911
Special Agent Ray Cunningham
Friday, May 28, 1915
Railroad Policeman William Applestiel
Wednesday, December 19, 1917
Special Police Officer Jack Chelton Harris
Tuesday, July 15, 1919
Special Officer Thomas McMillin
Monday, August 29, 1921
Special Officer Charles Sherman Patterson
Monday, August 29, 1921
Gunfire (Accidental)
Special Officer Roy E. Burton
Thursday, July 27, 1922
Special Agent Louis McCamant
Friday, April 25, 1924
Special Officer Lewis H. Mickey
Friday, March 20, 1925
Special Officer William H. Garrett
Monday, September 12, 1927
Vehicular assault
Special Officer James Edward Dunman
Wednesday, October 29, 1930
Special Agent Durward Faulding Geddes
Thursday, April 28, 1932
Special Agent Buford A. French
Friday, November 11, 1932
Railroad Detective Benjamin Earl (Red) Gaughenbaugh
Thursday, July 4, 1935
Heart attack
Special Agent Harry Lloyd Ashley
Friday, December 19, 1947
Special Agent Frank Clarence Schultz
Wednesday, June 10, 1970
Struck by train
Special Agent James Robert Robison
Monday, February 10, 1986
Struck by train


External links[edit]