On Thursday, Metro’s Board of Directors signed off on a new security arrangement for its network of trains and buses. Under the new agreement, the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments will take over law enforcement responsibilities in their respective cities, while the Sheriff’s Department will continue to provide security in all other parts of LA County.
Under the agreement, the agency will spend just over $797 million on security over the next five years, including more than $645 million that will go toward the multi-agency contract. As the LA Times notes, that represents a big increase over the current $89 million per year contract Metro has with the Sheriff’s Department. The agency will also spend a combined $151 million on private and in-house security contracts.
These changes will allow 314 security officers to patrol the transit network in a 24-hour period—up from between 140 and 200. Metro staff estimates the increased personnel will increase response times by over 50 percent.
Initially, the board was set to vote on the new arrangement in December, but elected to push back the decision after Sheriff Jim McDonnell asked the board to take more time to think about the plan.
Ultimately, the board opted for the new arrangement as a means of addressing passenger concerns about safety on trains and buses. In one recent rider survey, 13 percent of riders said they did not feel safe riding the train and bus, while 16 percent did not feel safe waiting at train stations.
- Metro Board to tackle policing contract [The Source]
- Metro approves a $797-million security plan that reduces the power of the Sheriff’s Department [LA Times]
- Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia elected to Metro board—will he improve the Blue Line? [Curbed LA]
- Metro ridership continues to fall [Curbed LA]
- Civil rights complaint alleges LA Metro, police target black riders [Curbed LA]