The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is bringing back K-9 security teams to its rail system as part of its “Meeting the Moment” action plan, which includes enhanced safety and security as one of its five pillars.
CTA has signed an 18-month contract with Action K-9 for $30.9 million, which will provide up to 100 unarmed guards and 50 canines per day, plus supervision and supporting equipment. The K-9 teams will consist of two unarmed guards and one canine. These new K-9 units will complement the efforts of the existing security presence out on CTA, which now boasts more than 300 unarmed guards throughout the system each day.
K-9 units have not been on CTA platforms since 2019 following questions that the contractor used at the time was sending guards not properly trained in handling the animals.
CTA says it has contracted with Action K-9 for security support in the past, but notes the new contract will allow each K-9 team to better handle a variety of situations by doubling the number of security guards with each canine.
In its “about us” section of its website, Action K-9 Security includes its work in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department to secure CTA’s system, “…Action K-9 Security provided K-9 Patrol services to secure the Chicago Transit Authority’s massive elevated train system. Action K-9 Security deployed nearly 60 K-9 Patrol teams daily to the CTA for patrol duties and to conduct special missions designed to reduce crime, fraud, vandalism and vagrancy.”
Details regarding the timing and general deployment plans of these new K-9 teams are still being finalized and will be announced later. CTA is working with Action K-9 to ensure that all guards assigned to K-9 teams have a valid canine handler license and have undergone all required training prior to their deployment on CTA properties.
“As part of ‘Meeting the Moment,’ we promised we would be increasing security to ensure customers’ peace of mind when choosing to take the CTA. The addition of the K-9 units is just one way we’re following through on our commitment to security for our customers, as well as our frontline employees who play a vital role in keeping our system moving every day,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr.