Metro Transit Police presence to increase along LRT routes amid public safety challenges

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Metro Transit Police presence will increase in the coming weeks as COVID-19 restrictions lift and more passengers are taking LRT routes to in-person jobs.

Metro Transit anticipates an increase in ridership for baseball games, concerts and festivals, Drew Kerr, Metro Transit spokesperson, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS in a written statement:

“In recent weeks, full- and part-time police officers have been asked to spend additional time on light rail, as they are able, while continuing to actively patrol other parts of the system. Deployments vary based on available staffing and other considerations, so it is not accurate to suggest that deployment strategies discussed internally reflect actual conditions on any given day.

Public safety challenges in the communities we serve are showing up on transit. It is our standard practice to maximize resources by sending officers to parts of the transit system where there is the greatest demonstrated need for an official presence (based on calls for service and other feedback from staff and customers) and by monitoring real-time cameras throughout much of the day and evening. Light rail has been and continues to be an area of focus.

Like so many police agencies, we are also facing an officer shortage. We currently have 111 full-time officers (out of 171 authorized), 53 part-time officers (out of 80 authorized) and 15 Community Service Officers. We are aggressively recruiting full- and part-time police officers and CSOs.”

Riders like Prynce Williams told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they generally feel safe riding LRT, but welcome the idea of a larger police presence.

“I think that would be a great thing. I honestly do,” Williams said. “We need more police out here. We need more police-friendly people out here.”

Metro Transit did not give any details on how long increased police presence will last.