From Interim General Manager Lesley Kandaras and Chief Ernest Morales III
When our Safety & Security Action Plan was introduced last year, we knew change wouldn’t come easily. But we also knew we had an obligation to try to make things better for our riders and our staff, and to provide more consistent updates on our progress.
As our latest quarterly update shows, a lot of effort is being made. Every one of the 40 action items identified in the plan has been implemented or is in progress. Notable recent highlights include:
Executing a contract that will bring supplemental security to up to six locations beginning this spring.
Increasing staffing in our Real Time Information Center so we can monitor live camera feeds seven days a week.
Expanding our police presence on trains and at locations with ongoing concerns, like the Lake Street/Midtown Station.
Contracting with organizations like A Mother’s Love and Radias Health whose staff can help connect people to services.
We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made and are hopeful further improvements will be coming soon. We also know we are still a long way from where we need to be.
We face ongoing challenges related to drug use and property damage. And our police force remains stretched thin – we’ve only been able to increase patrols because our officers are working longer hours.
The question now, of course, is where do we go from here?
Because the issues that surface on transit are often beyond the scope of what we can handle alone, we are looking at expanded partnerships with service providers.
To continue rebuilding our ranks, we’ve increased wages for officers and Community Service Officers and are taking advantage of every recruitment opportunity. (Four new police officers will be sworn in in May and we are hiring Community Service Officers on an ongoing basis.)
A revised Code of Conduct and a new anti-harassment campaign will be brought forward later this year.
Expanding service, ongoing facility investments and providing frontline staff and officers additional training are also important next steps.
We remain committed to hearing from our riders, staff, and partners whose input has always been essential to this work.
Please know that we hear and take seriously all the feedback we receive and are as committed as ever to creating a system everyone can feel safe and welcome using.
Thank you for your continued support.