The Los Angeles Metro Board of Directors has voted to explore the creation of its own police department amid concerns about rising crime and lax security on board public transit.
Thursday’s vote was unanimous.
"I'm very excited at the notion of creating an in-house agency that could be a real opportunity to re-envision public safety," said L.A. Mayor Karen Bass, who sits on the board.
At the same meeting, however, the board voted to extend its contract with the system’s current public safety providers — Los Angeles and Long Beach police and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department — for up to three more years. That vote was 11-1, with L.A. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath dissenting.
“We cannot blindly hand out taxpayer dollars for contracted services without knowing what we are getting in return,” the supervisor said.
The security situation on L.A. trains is abysmal, as detailed in this nine-page safety report from February.
Violent crime was up 40% on trains and busses last year compared to before the pandemic, despite fewer riders. There were 1,435 serious crimes like assaults and robberies and 21 deaths. We’re only a few months into 2023, and the system has already hit that same number of deaths this year.
A recent audit found sheriff’s deputies rode the trains just 12 out of 178 weekly shifts. Most of the police call responses were from jurisdictions that don’t even contract with the system.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times.