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Metro Board Approves Hiring of 48 Transit Security Officers, Extends Law Enforcement Contracts

LOS ANGELES (March 27, 2023) — Two weeks after it announced the deployment of nearly 300 unarmed Metro Ambassadors aboard its trains and buses, the Metro Board of Directors has approved the hiring of 48 new Transit Security Officers to keep bus operators and riders safe.

The Board also authorized the agency to re-negotiate and potentially extend for up to three years its contracts with its law enforcement partners to ensure more visual presence on the system, while it evaluates the feasibility of creating its own in-house public safety department. 

The Board’s actions advance the implementation of the agency’s public safety plan. In addition to the new security officers, Metro is working with the city and the county to add homeless outreach, drug addiction and crisis intervention teams, and is improving its use of security cameras and lighting and more frequent cleaning of stations and vehicles.

The 48 additional Metro Transit Security Officers, or TSOs will create a Permanent Bus Riding Team that will be deployed to specific lines with high frequencies of public safety issues, with a primary objective of deterring bus operator assaults and code of conduct violations.

The need for additional TSOs is significant, as there were 158 assaults on bus operators in 2022, an increase from 115 in 2021. 

“It is important that we’re finally going to have a team of transit security officers who are dedicated to our buses and are actually riding them alongside our passengers,” said Janice Hahn, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Second Vice Chair. “Most of Metro’s consistent transit riders take the bus and they deserve a safe and comfortable ride.”

“The Metro System is certainly not immune from the broader societal challenges we see throughout our county, but we are steadfast in our commitment to taking all steps necessary to promote a safe and pleasant transit experience for every one of our riders,” said Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “Safety is our No. 1 priority. Our Board’s actions today are a testament to the bold and strategic actions we are now taking to deliver a safe transit system.”

Law Enforcement Contract Extensions
The Board authorized Metro to negotiate extensions to the agency’s multi-agency transit law enforcement contracts with the Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Long Beach Police Department. Metro staff recommended that it was in the best interest of the agency, its employees and customers to extend law enforcement contracts with modified scopes of work that are consistent with the Board-approved public safety mission.

Metro staff will return to the Board in May on the feasibility of establishing an in-house public safety department. 

“Bringing additional layers of public safety in-house will give Metro a greater ability to reliably deploy personnel with the training and capabilities to respond to the variety of incidents that occur on our transit system,” said Hilda L. Solis, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member. “I look forward to receiving a Metro staff’s report on the feasibility of a public safety department to inform our continuing efforts to deliver an enhanced customer experience and greater accountability for Metro transit riders.”

For more information, please visit metro.net/safety.