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Posts in Category: Safety

Safety Transit Police

New transit police officers speak many languages, share desire to be role models 

Posted by Laura Baenen | Friday, December 21, 2018 11:15:00 AM

Growing up in Cambodia, Soonem Teng’s family fled their home several times to escape raids by the Khmer Rouge.

That experience helped point Teng toward a career in law enforcement. On Thursday, he was among 16 new officers sworn in by the Metro Transit Police Department. 

“As a kid, I always wanted someone to step up and help,” Teng said. “Now I want to be that person for others.”

Teng’s experience was not uncommon among his peers. Several of the department’s new officers grew up during warfare in faraway lands, became refugees and were befriended at some point by police officers.

In addition to Teng, who speaks Cambodian, the new group includes officers who speak Burmese, Chinese, Somali, Spanish, American Sign Language and Igbo, a West African language.

Ahmed Dualeh was born in Somalia while the country was in the throes of a civil war, an experience that led him to see police as peace keepers. Dualeh’s outlook has also been formed by his time at a Ramsey County Corrections Officer.

As a police officer, he hopes to be a positive force before troubles mount. “I can talk to younger people and help them by being a role model,” he said.

The prospect of becoming a role model also appeals to Peter Wameng Yang, who is fluent in Hmong. “Becoming a role model to the Hmong population and teaching the community about the Hmong culture is a goal I set many years ago,” he said. “I am getting a step closer.”

The new group of officers also includes former security guards, volunteer police reservists, military veterans and Community Service Officers.

The department gained its first sibling duo, too. Kevin McCabe’s older brother, Pat McCabe, has been with the department since 2014.

With the additional officers, the Metro Transit Police Department now has 101 full-time officers and 59 part-time officers. The new group was brought in partly to support the C Line, a Bus Rapid Transit service replacing Route 19 in 2019.

Before Thursday’s swearing in ceremony, the recruits completed the department’s custom, 10-week academy and spent another four months working alongside field training officers.

Metro Transit police officers can respond to calls from throughout the seven-county region but primarily focus on patrolling the transit network.

 

Metro Transit Police Department Swearing in Ceremony

Bus Safety

Repeat Roadeo champ earns another title 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, September 26, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Heywood operator Jack Berner won the 2018 Metro Transit Bus Roadeo. The sleeve of Jack Berner’s grey Metro Transit sweater is already home to an impressive collection of blue chevrons commemorating each of his 13 Bus Roadeo wins.

And now he has one more. After earning a near-perfect score, Berner was named the 2018 Bus Roadeo champion this week.

With each win, he earns bragging rights, a trophy and a blue chevron to stitch onto his uniform. “I think I can fit another one on there,” the 29-year operator said this week. 

Berner has competed in 22 Bus Roadeos and won six of the past seven years. He narrowly missed the top spot in 2016.

On the Roadeo course, operators maneuver around cones, tennis balls and signs, winning points for precision. Top finishers can be separated by less than a few inches.

Berner says his success comes not just from experience but an innate ability to judge distances.

“I don’t really have a set thing, I’ve just always been really good at estimating,” Berner said.

Participating in the Roadeo for the first time, fellow Heywood operator Bradley Schnieder turned to the perennial champ for advice.

It worked. Schnieder, a five-year operator, had the best score among this year’s first-time participants, earning Rookie of the Year honors.

Heywood operator Kenneth Schmoll took second overall and East Metro operator David Palm took third. The top finishers from other garages were:

  • > Timothy Hnida, Ruter Garage
  • > Mark Ogburn, Nicollet Garage
  • > Doug John, South Garage
Awards Light Rail Safety Transit Police

Super Bowl Security efforts gain national acclaim 

| Tuesday, June 12, 2018 2:20:00 PM

U.S. Bank Stadium Station, shortly before Super Bowl LII.Efforts to safely transport thousands of Super Bowl fans were recognized last week by the American Public Transportation Association.

APTA presented Metro Transit with a Gold Award for Rail Security on Sunday during an awards ceremony in Denver, Colo. The awards were part of APTA’s International Rail Rodeo activities.

The award reflects the extraordinary efforts Metro Transit put forward on gameday and during more than a week of pre-game festivities.

To maintain a secure perimeter while still allowing fans to take light rail to U.S. Bank Stadium, ticket holders who took light rail on gameday were pre-screened at light rail stations – a first for the event.

Metro Transit also played a key role in event preparations, hosting table top drills and exercises and coordinating with more than 75 law enforcement agencies.  

The preparations helped Metro Transit overcome multiple last-minute challenges, including snow, system and light rail vehicle failures and a civil disruption on the Green Line.

More than 210,000 additional rides were taken over more than a week's worth of Super Bowl events, leading the Green and Blue lines and the Northstar Commuter Rail Line to their highest-ever January ridership totals.

The award comes just weeks after APTA presented Metro Transit with a Certificate of Merit at its Bus Safety & Security Awards. The award recognized efforts to improve safety through repeated and enhanced operator training.

Awards Bus Safety

Bus operator training efforts receive national recognition 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, May 11, 2018 9:57:00 AM

Metro Transit’s efforts to improve safety through repeated and enhanced operator training have earned national accolades.

The American Public Transportation Association awarded Metro Transit with a Certificate of Merit at its Bus Safety & Security Awards this week. The awards recognize programs or projects that lead to documented success.

The Certificate of Merit acknowledges a range of training efforts led by the Safety Department, including:

  • > The use of on-board video footage to provoke conversation about avoidable safety incidents among new operators and operators going from part- to full-time. 
  • > Safety conferences with operators for all responsible and non-responsible collisions.
  • > Regularly-scheduled Safety Keys courses, coupled with customized training focused on winter driving, pedestrian and bicycle safety and distracted driving.

“The innovation is not that there is training, but rather that the training takes many forms, and is repeated, data driven, measured and season-specific,” Director of Safety Mike Conlon said.

There were 2.88 collisions for every 100,000 bus passenger miles in 2017, a historic low. The rate is especially notable since nearly half of bus operators have been at Metro Transit less than five years.  

In 2017, Metro Transit earned a Gold Award in APTA’s Rail Safety & Security Awards for outreach efforts related to light rail safety. 

Learn more about other recognition for Metro Transit and its employees

Light Rail Safety

Train operator keeps Rail Rodeo crown 

Posted by Drew Kerr | Wednesday, April 25, 2018 12:46:00 PM

Metro Transit Train Operator Bill Morris in the cab of a light rail train. After finishing Metro Transit’s Rail Rodeo last Saturday, train operator Bill Morris felt pretty good about his performance.

He had reason to be confident: For the second year in a row, Morris earned the best score in the annual skills competition.

“I knew it was just a matter of how well the other operators had done,” said Morris, who has been a train operator since 2012. “Unlike last year when I was actually surprised that I won.”

Morris will now represent Metro Transit at the American Public Transportation Association’s International Rail Rodeo in Denver, Colo., in June.

Joining him will be fellow operator and relief instructor Paul Gillespie who finished second in the Rail Rodeo. Train operator Peter Mooers finished third.

Morris and Mooers participated in the 2017 International Rail Rodeo, finishing in fourth place.

The local and international competitions include written exams and observations of operators in action. This year’s Rail Rodeo included a new test in which operators had just a few minutes to figure out why a disabled train wouldn’t move.

Morris said he’s looking forward to representing Metro Transit in Denver and competing in future agency Rodeos. And while he's been successful, he's not taking anything for granted. 

“The competition is fierce. Any of our operators can step up,” he said. “I’m not going to take this lightly and will continue to work hard.”

Metro Transit’s annual Bus Roadeo​ has been scheduled for Sept. 15-20 and will be held in the Como Avenue parking lot at the State Fairgrounds. 

Last year’s Roadeo champion, Heywood operator Jack Berner, #8927, will compete this May in the APTA Roadeo in Tampa, Fla. 

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