Skip to main content For screen readers, our previous mobile pages might be more easily navigated while we continue to improve the accessibility of our website.

 

Posts in Category: Safety

Light Rail METRO Blue Line METRO Green Line Safety

Close call on METRO Blue Line provides safety reminder 

| Friday, August 16, 2013 9:24:00 AM

Rusdon Torbenson considers himself extremely lucky. 

On June 15, Torbenson was biking westbound on East 35th Street. After crossing Hiawatha Avenue, he biked around the lowered, flashing gate arms. Though he saw a METRO Blue Line train traveling south, he thought he could cross the tracks before it passed through the intersection.

Headphones in and looking to his right, Torbenson failed to notice the second 150-ton train coming from the opposite direction at about 40 miles per hour.

That is, until it hit his front tire.

“I had no awareness of the northbound train until it was striking me,” Torbenson said recently. “If it had passed another second later I would have been killed.”

Instead, Torbenson walked away from the scene 30 minutes later with little more than a bruised pointer finger, a bent-up bike and a moving violation. Customers were escorted from the train to replacement buses as police and emergency responders arrived at the scene.  

“I wanted to apologize to every one of them,” Torbenson said, recalling the incident in an interview at the Blue Line’s 38th Street Station.

Though he avoided significant injury, Torbenson’s story underscores a message Metro Transit hopes will stick with all residents who come near light rail: trains can come on any track, at any time, from either direction. (Though this wasn't true in Torbenson's case, it's also important to realize trains may be approaching on the opposite track but blocked from view by the near-side train.)

Torbenson said he knows he should have been more careful and agreed to talk about his experience so that others would not repeat it. He said he hadn't been in a particular hurry. And despite crossing the tracks countless times over the last several years, he’d never attempted to beat the train before.

With METRO Green Line light-rail service beginning between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul in mid-2014, Torbenson's experience is a timely reason for a refresher on safety around light-rail trains for pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists.

> Never try to beat a train through a crossing – it takes the length of two football fields for a train to stop.

> Safety only takes a second – light-rail trains move faster than freight trains. If gate arms are going down, stop. The train will clear the intersection in a few seconds.

> Slow down and be alert near rail stations. Watch for pedestrians, trains, buses and cars. If you're wearing headphones, put them away to avoid distractions.

Looking back at the experience, Torbenson said the close call has left him more aware, but also more introspective. In the days after the collision, he thought about how his parents and 11-year-old son would have been affected had things gone differently.

“The first few hours I was really just embarrassed,” he said. “Then over the next few days it was pretty overwhelming, realizing it was such a near-death experience.”

 

 

Safety Transit Police

New officers, new diversity for Metro Transit police 

| Monday, August 05, 2013 10:49:00 AM

As new immigrants to the United States, Abdulkhayr Hirse and Salah Ahmed relied heavily on transit to get to work and school.

A few short years later, their experience is coming full circle. The Somali-born men were among 19 new full-time Metro Transit police officers sworn in on Friday, Aug. 2, as the department welcomed one of the most diverse groups of new hires in the history of the 20-year-old organization.

With their hire, the department now includes four Somali officers, including the first Somali sergeant in the country, Waheid Siraach. Mukhtar Abdulkadir, who was also born in Somalia, was among 22 part-time officers who joined Metro Transit Police this spring.

Following Friday’s ceremony Hirse and Ahmed said they were excited to begin their new roles, serving as role models for young Somalis as well as ambassadors to the wider transit community. As with all transit police, they will be responsible for patrolling light rail and commuter trains, buses and station areas and will play a key role policing the METRO Green Line when it opens next year.  

“We’re here because we want to change someone’s life, or at least make their day or night a little bit better,” said Hirse, who worked in security after moving from Kenya to the United States in 1998.  

Ahmed, who previously worked as a probation officer and park ranger, said he was eager to join the force because it will allow him to have more interactions with community members. “It’s not just about sitting in a squad car but getting out and talking to people, connecting with the public,” he said.

The visibility could encourage other young Somalis to consider law enforcement as a career as well, said Siraach, who joined the department nearly six years ago and was named acting sergeant in July.

“It’ll be a great thing for them to have somebody to look up to,” he said. “This is really exciting for us and it makes us better as an agency.”

For Police Chief John Harrington, the department’s growing diversity represents a “changing of the guards” that will be key to building bridges in the community. This year, the department has made a point of increasing time spent on the streets doing beat work and connecting with community groups at events like Tuesday's National Night Out (Transit Police plan to attend 50 events in Minneapolis and St. Paul).

With transit customers speaking dozens of different languages, Harrington said it’s vital for officers to reflect and be able to relate to the people they serve. Officers in the new class speak Arabic, Spanish and Somali.

“People come here from every point on the globe,” he said addressing the officers at Friday’s ceremony. “Today, as you go forth from here, you will bring a new meaning to the phrase, ‘By the people, for the people, of the people.’”

General Manager Brian Lamb echoed the sentiment. Besides introducing more diversity, Lamb said the department’s growth will allow officers to take a more proactive approach to policing and ensure Metro Transit customers feel safe and welcome. There are now 83 full-time Metro Transit police officers and 59 part-time officers.  

“It’s easy to be focused on the problems at hand, but that will only get us part of the way there,” he said.

Another 26 part-time officers will be hired this fall. Acting Lt. Jason Lindner, who oversaw the hiring of the new class, said the department received more than 500 applications when it advertised the new jobs earlier this year.

The response was due in part to greater outreach, something Lindner said would continue as the department continues to grow.

“It’s really important for every class to get a good cross-section of people,” he said. “That’s what’s going to allow us to be able to hit more areas than we ever have.”

> Star Tribune: New officers join Metro Transit police force

> Coverage by Mogadishu Times, Hiiraan Online

> Metro Transit Police Department 

Top left: Abdulkhayr Hirse poses with St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers prior to the Metro Transit Police Department's swearing in ceremony on Friday. Bottom right: Salah Ahmed poses with an officer from the Dakota County Sheriff Department on Friday.

In the News Safety Transit Police

MPR: Transit drivers get more protections from assaults under new law 

| Tuesday, July 30, 2013 5:00:00 PM

Minnesota Public Radio reports on a new state law that classifies certain assaults against bus and train operators as gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $3,000 fine – previously the penalty was up to 90 days in a prison and a $1,000 fine.  

Metro Transit officials successfully advocated for the stiffer penalties in the last legislative session, arguing such assaults put both operators and the public at risk.

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington is among those who pushed the law change. Speaking to MPR, he said he hoped it would send a message that "assaulting drivers is taken very seriously."

> MPR's report on the new operator assault law

> AP: New Minnesota law ups penalty for bus driver assaults

> Metro Transit's Code of Conduct

Safety Transit Police

Metro Transit safety and security efforts earn industry accolades 

| Monday, July 08, 2013 11:48:00 AM

Metro Transit’s safety record is getting attention both nationally and locally from industry peers.

The agency has landed three safety-related awards from industry groups this year, including a “Gold Standard” rating for its transit security program announced last week by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The TSA rating is based on a voluntary, comprehensive review focused on security planning, training and outreach. Metro Transit received high scores across all categories in the TSA’s review.

"We commend Metro Transit and the Metro Transit Police Department for the commitment and hard work that this level of accomplishment requires," TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said in announcing the recognition.

Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb (shown presenting the TSA award during a recent Metro Transit Police Awards Ceremony as Chief John Harrington looks on) said it was an honor to be recognized with the prestigious Gold Standard.

"In particular, it's a credit to the Metro Transit Police Department for their leadership in making this agency a national model of transit security," Lamb said.

Earlier this year, Metro Transit was awarded the Gold Award for Bus Safety Excellence for large transit systems by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for a suite of safety measures involving both operations and communications. This is the second time in five years Metro Transit has received the prestigious award. 

The Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) also gave Metro Transit’s marketing department its “Best of Show” award for visual design on a campaign reminding customers how to be safe using transit.  The campaign included bus and train wraps, interior cards and posters and included messages such as “Be safe. Don’t chase,” “Be safe. Be seen,” “Be safe. Be alert,” and “Be safe. Look both ways!”

    > Mass Transit: TSA Commends 16 Mass Transit and Rail Agencies for Highest Security Levels

    > KSTP: Metro Transit Receives 'Gold Standard' for Security

    > Star Tribune: Metro Transit wins safety award

    > Rider's Almanac: Security officer who helped Metro Transit police nab suspect honored

    > Metro Transit Honored With Industry’s Top Safety Award

    > Metro Transit: Safety & Security

Community Safety Transit Police

Security officer who helped Metro Transit police nab suspect honored 

| Friday, June 21, 2013 3:43:00 PM

Sabrina Banks is an observer.

It’s that quality that led her to a job working security at St. Paul’s Alliance Bank Center – and to the Metro Transit Police Department on Friday, where she received a Civilian Award of Commendation.

Banks was recognized for identifying a suspect in an armed robbery of a Roseville group home and alerting Metro Transit police officers Peter Peterson and Leo Castro, who made an arrest following a foot chase through the St. Paul skyway. Metro Transit police had provided Banks with a photo of the suspect and asked her to be watchful, believing he might show up in the area.

The arrest later led police to three other robbery suspects, charges and subsequent convictions. Banks successfully identified another suspect earlier this year and has also worked with beat officers in St. Paul to address electronics thefts. (Above: Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington presents Banks with the award)

Before accepting her award, Banks said she has always had a keen eye and is constantly aware of her surroundings. “I look at everyone all day long and I never forget a face,” said Banks, a Woodbury resident who has worked security since 1996.

Recalling last year's arrest, Banks said it was an exciting moment and that she was proud to have helped officers make their arrest. “I like it when they get the bad boys,” she said.

Other citizens won recognition at the 16th annual event for chasing down a suspect who had smashed a transit shelter window with a skateboard and helping to prevent a suspect from entering a METRO Blue Line tunnel near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Along with the citizen awards, nearly two-dozen Metro Transit police officers received accolades for extraordinary service. The group included two officers and a Metropolitan Council project manager who developed a system that provides better coordination with the Minneapolis Police Department, saving officers hundreds of hours in paperwork every year.

Adam Marvin, who joined the Metro Transit Police Department in 2009, was named Police Officer of the Year for his dedication and attention to detail. Officer Marty Williams was awarded the Timothy Bowe Memorial Award, which is given to a part-time Metro Transit Police officer.

Presenting the awards, Police Chief John Harrington described the officers as the “best of the best” and heralded them for being a “voice of reason and calm when things seemed to be completely out of control.”

“These are the people who make our world – the transit world – a better, safer place,” he said.

Star Tribune: Metro Transit honors top cops

> Metro Transit Police Honor Top Officers at 16th Annual Ceremony

> Previous award winners

Page 8 of 9 << < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 > >>

Skip footer navigation

CONTACT US
FOLLOW US ON: