By: Scott Bolejack
Selma Mayor Cheryl Oliver has a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about walking along the town’s railroad tracks.
“The railroad has always taken security seriously,” Oliver said toward the end of Tuesday’s Town Council meeting. “But I want everyone to be aware that they’ve stepped it up a notch.”
Recently, Oliver said, a town resident taking his daily walk crossed the railroad tracks but not at a designated crossing. The mayor said a man driving a black SUV stopped the town resident and said, “You can’t do that, sir.”
The encounter caught the resident off guard. “He was casually dressed,” Oliver said of the man driving the SUV. “It wasn’t like he had a police uniform on. And so he (the town resident) asked for identification.”
Oliver checked out the story too. “Sure enough,” she said, “there are railroad security teams that are out and about. So they’re very serious about you using those railroad crossings.”
Oliver has since had the chance to spread the word about railroad officers watching over local tracks. “After that happened, I was driving down 301, and lo and behold, I saw this young lady standing right out on the track,” the mayor said. “She had her foot popped up on the tracks, and she was on her iPhone. And I thought, oh mercy, I gotta warn her about the railroad police.”
It turned out that the woman, a New Yorker, was visiting family in Selma, Oliver said. “And she said, ‘But it’s so cool. In New York, you can never get anywhere near the track to stand like this.’ And she was just having the time of her life and taking selfies.”
But that’s a no-no, Oliver said. “I wanted everyone to be aware of it, and if you are stopped, it is legitimate,” she said.