L.A. Metro Board of Directors approves establishment of Metro Transit Community Public Safety Department

July 1, 2024
The Metro TCPSD will result in a safer transit system for L.A. Metro employees and customers using a specialized transit community public safety workforce who are trained specifically to address the needs of transit riders, as well as care-based strategies.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) Board of Directors approved the establishment of the Metro Transit Community Public Safety Department (TCPSD).  

The objectives of the Metro TCPSD are increased visibility, accountability and consistent service delivery, which will result in a safer transit system for L.A. Metro employees and customers using a specialized transit community public safety workforce who are trained specifically to address the needs of transit riders, as well as care-based strategies  

The Metro TCPSD personnel will be trained to address the needs of the transit system, its employees and its customers.  

“This action will make [L.A.] Metro safer by transforming the public safety system through a new model that fits the unique needs of our transit system,” said Los Angeles Mayor and L.A. Metro Board Chair Karen Bass. “The [L.A.] Metro Board of Directors’ top priority is keeping our riders and operators safe and we will continue to do all that we can to enhance [L.A.] Metro’s ability to keep riders safe.”  

The TCPSD will maintain the current number of 386 law enforcement officers deployed daily in the field while increasing the daily deployment of Ambassadors (plus 141), homeless outreach (plus 5) and crisis intervention (plus 81) staff. The plan also allocates $5 million annually for innovative public safety infrastructure improvements at transit stations.  

The new TCPSD is expected to cost $192.6 million per year, compared to the current $194.1 million Multi-Agency Contract Cost. L.A. Metro will reinvest the savings achieved by moving away from the costly multi-contract service model in care strategies.  

L.A. Metro says that by increasing safety layers, the model will enhance coordination, improve response times and ensure that the specific needs of riders are met with a tailored approach based upon the prevalence of quality-of-life incidents on the L.A. Metro system. The agency notes the approach not only bolsters security but also fosters a safer and more supportive environment for all L.A. Metro users.  

“The board appreciates its partnerships with LASD, LAPD and LBPD throughout the years and deeply values the officers who have worked diligently to address the critical safety needs of [L.A.] Metro riders and employees,” said L.A. Metro Board Member and Glendale City Councilmember Ara J. Najarian. “For that reason, this was a difficult decision but ultimately the right one to ensure a safer, more resilient transit system for Los Angeles County.”  

The transition to the Metro TCPSD will occur in three phases during the next five years. All current contract law enforcement agencies have agreed to cooperate with the transition and there will be no disruption of law enforcement services as the new Metro TCPSD is developed.  

“PSAC is thrilled the [L.A.] Metro board authorized the creation of the Transit Community Public Safety Department,” said L.A. Metro’s Public Safety Advisory Committee Chair Jeremy Oliver-Ronceros. “By bringing the officers in-house and adding 227 daily deployed care-based workers, increasing the ranks of our transit ambassadors, homeless outreach and crisis interventionists, they have taken the first step in revolutionizing how we approach safety on public transit. Not only will visibility be increased across the system, but we will able to create an environment that puts people first.”  

L.A. Metro will now create a dedicated Transition Team of subject matter experts who will serve as the cornerstone for orchestrating a seamless shift toward the envisioned department, ensuring effective coordination both internally and externally. Additionally, a chief of police will be hired. The selection process for the newly created role will include engaging L.A. Metro’s customers and employees to ensure the selection resonates with the transit community’s expectations.  

 “We are addressing complex public safety issues that require a bold, new approach,” said L.A. Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “The Metro TCPSD will go far beyond providing law enforcement to address crime. We will introduce a fresh, new public safety model that puts people at the center and addresses quality of life issues that have become so prevalent in cities and transit systems across the country.”

“On behalf of the 5,000 bus and rail members we represent, the union expresses our sincere appreciation for the forward steps taken by the board,” said SMART Union General Chairman John M. Ellis. “It’s reassuring to see the board listened to our members and approved [L.A.] Metro’s own in-house safety department. We look forward to working with CEO Wiggins and [L.A.] Metro’s management to make the approved proposal of [L.A.] Metro’s own in-house public safety department a reality and keep our communities safe.”