Metro to Establish its own Police Agency

Transition to Occur in Three Phases over Five Years

Transition to Occur in Three Phases over Five Years

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors unanimously approved the establishment of the Metro Transit Community Public Safety Department (TCPSD) in its monthly meeting on Thursday, June 28, 2024.

The objectives of the Metro TCPSD are increased visibility, accountability and consistent service delivery, which will result in a safer transit system for Metro employees and customers using a specialized transit community public safety workforce who are trained specifically to address the needs of transit riders, as well as care-based strategies

The Metro TCPSD personnel will be trained to address the needs of the transit system, its employees and its customers.

“This action will make Metro safer by transforming the public safety system through a new model that fits the unique needs of our transit system,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Karen Bass. “The Metro Board of Directors’ top priority is keeping our riders and operators safe, and we will continue to do all that we can to enhance Metro’s ability to keep riders safe.”

HOW THIS WILL WORK

The TCPSD will maintain the current number of 386 law enforcement officers deployed daily in the field, while increasing the daily deployment of Ambassadors (+141), homeless outreach (+5) and crisis intervention (+81) staff. The plan also allocates $5 million annually for innovative public safety infrastructure improvements at transit stations.

The new TCPSD is expected to cost $192,566,505 per year, compared to the current $194,051,691 Multi-Agency Contract Cost. Metro will reinvest the savings achieved by moving away from the costly multi-contract service model in care strategies.

By increasing safety layers, the model will enhance coordination, improve response times and ensure that the specific needs of riders are met with a tailored approach based upon the prevalence of quality-of-life incidents on the Metro system. This holistic approach not only bolsters security but also fosters a safer and more supportive environment for all Metro users.

“The Board appreciates its partnerships with LASD, LAPD, and LBPD throughout the years and deeply values the officers who have worked diligently to address the critical safety needs of Metro riders and employees,” said Metro Board Member and Glendale City Councilmember Ara J. Najarian. “For that reason, this was a difficult decision but ultimately the right one to ensure a safer, more resilient transit system for Los Angeles County.”

The transition to the Metro TCPSD will occur in three phases over the next five years. All current contract law enforcement agencies have agreed to cooperate with the transition and there will be no disruption of law enforcement services as the new Metro TCPSD is developed.

“PSAC is thrilled the Metro board authorized the creation of the Transit Community Public Safety Department,” said Metro’s Public Safety Advisory Committee Chair Jeremy Oliver-Ronceros. “By bringing the officers in-house and adding 227 daily deployed care-based workers, increasing the ranks of our transit ambassadors, homeless outreach, and crisis interventionists, they have taken the first step in revolutionizing how we approach safety on public transit. Not only will visibility be increased across the system, but we will be able to create an environment that puts people first.”

Metro will now create a dedicated Transition Team of subject matter experts who will serve as the cornerstone for orchestrating a seamless shift toward the envisioned department, ensuring effective coordination both internally and externally. Additionally, a Chief of Police will be hired. The selection process for this newly created role will include engaging Metro’s customers and employees to ensure the selection resonates with the transit community’s expectations.

“On behalf of the 5,000 bus and rail Members we represent, the Union expresses our sincere appreciation for the forward steps taken by the Board,” said General Chairman John M. Ellis, SMART Union. “It’s reassuring to see the Board listened to our members and approved Metro’s own in-house safety department. We look forward to working with CEO Wiggins and Metro’s management to make the approved proposal of Metro’s own in-house public safety department a reality and keep our communities safe.”

The Department will embody a modern model of proactive community transit policing using training that is specific to the transit environment.    

“We are addressing complex public safety issues that require a bold, new approach,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “The Metro TCPSD will go far beyond providing law enforcement to address crime. We will introduce a fresh, new public safety model that puts people at the center and addresses quality of life issues that have become so prevalent in cities and transit systems across the country.”

 

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