Photo by John Schreiber.

Moving to make Metro trains, stations and buses “even safer,” a new security plan was launched Saturday, with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department no longer solely responsible for patrolling the agency’s transportation system.

Officers with the Los Angeles Police Department will take over patrols for L.A.’s portion of Metro and Long Beach officers will oversee enforcement in their jurisdiction, with the sheriff’s department still patrolling the other rail and bus lines throughout the county.

The new $797-million, 5-year security contract was unanimously approved by the Metro Board of Directors earlier this year and will help improve safety on Metro, officials said.

“The Metro system is safe today, but we want to make it even safer and more secure as we continue to expand our transit system throughout the county,” said John Fasana, Metro board chair and mayor pro tem of the city of Duarte. “This new multi-agency approach strategically places law enforcement resources where they can provide the best service to our customers.”

Metro officials said the plan is consistent with best practices within the industry, as other transit agencies in Denver, Portland, Sacramento and Oakland also work with multiple law enforcement agencies for patrols.

“Improving public transportation means making sure that all of our transit lines are safe to ride, so that Angelenos can move around our city, and connect with one another,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “This new approach puts more LAPD officers on patrol keeping our communities safe, and makes Metro a better transit system for all of our customers.”

The LAPD will fulfill the contract primarily through overtime hours, and Chief Charlie Beck has said it will not reduce the level of regular patrols in the rest of the city.

“This law enforcement partnership with Metro will not only bolster the LAPD’s ability to respond and react to crime while protecting the commuting residents of Los Angeles, but it will also strengthen our commitment to relationship-based policing,” Beck said.

“The geographical expanse of our city makes a traditional `foot beat’ very difficult, but with our officers riding the buses and trains of our Metro transit system, the men and women of the department will be able to have more interaction with Angelenos, which will hopefully continue to build bridges between the department and the public,” he said.

Total reported bus and rail crimes are down on the system since January 2016, Metro said.

—City News Service

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