NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer is blaming a wrinkle in federal law for keeping Amtrak police from accessing the emergency radio frequencies used by other first responders.

During a news conference Sunday, the Democrat urged the Federal Communications Commission to change their policy of treating Amtrak police differently than other law enforcement and emergency management agencies.

Schumer said Amtrak police are currently considered railroad personnel, instead of law enforcement — a distinction that he said could cause serious problems in the event of a derailment, natural disaster or terror attack.

“We’re gonna fix it,” Schumer said. “We’re going to demand that the FCC fix it now.”

The MTA, PATH and NJTRANSIT police all currently use the frequencies, 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported.

Head of the Amtrak police union, David Pearlson, said he remembers being attacked by a passenger in New Jersey and not being able to use his official radio to call local police for help.

“Basically close to losing consciousness,” he said. “Thank God I had purchased my own radio in order to contact the New Brunswick police. And as a result of that, I was able to get back up there within minutes.”

Technically using that radio violated protocol, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

Schumer said this radio issue was supposed to be ironed out in the lessons learned from the 9/11 terror attacks.

“On that fateful day first responders were unable to communicate with one another,” the lawmaker said.

The Amtrak Police Department consists of more than 500 employees in 46 states. More than 100 officers, officials, detectives and special agents work out of the agency’s New York offices.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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