From General Manager Lesley Kandaras and Police Chief Ernest Morales III
We’ve made a concerted effort to ensure people feel safe and comfortable using transit. And we are seeing signs of progress.
Ridership is steadily growing and we’re hearing more encouraging comments from riders and employees who say they've noticed conditions improving.
Systemwide, we’ve seen a 33% drop in reported crimes from the first to the third quarter of this year. Notably, conditions have also improved at our most challenging locations, like the Lake Street-Midtown light rail station, where police officers and supplemental security are working together to maintain a welcoming environment.
Still, we know we have more work to do. In the coming months, we’ll be taking several additional steps to build on the progress that’s been made. These efforts include:
Bringing social service providers onto transit. As a public space, transit is a window into some of our community’s biggest challenges, including substance use disorders and homelessness. These issues are best addressed by trained professionals, so we are expanding our partnerships with social service agencies through the Transit Service Intervention Project. Expect to see representatives from these organizations out in greater numbers soon.
Hiring more police officers. To grow our ranks, we’re putting more emphasis on the Community Service Officer program that gets up-and-coming police officers in the door, streamlining our hiring process, and expanding our work to retain and recruit officers. Four more new officers will be sworn in later this month.
Advancing a new Code of Conduct. Before the end of the year, our revised Code of Conduct will be brought to the Metropolitan Council for adoption. The updated Code of Conduct will help set the expectation that riders behave respectfully while riding and describe how we will hold accountable individuals who do not follow the rules.
Building a team of non-police personnel to monitor fare compliance and assist riders. Until recently, only police officers could inspect fares and issue misdemeanor citations for fare non-payment. Now, that responsibility is being shifted to personnel who will not only check fares but help people navigate our system and be trained to handle issues that can be resolved without police intervention. This shift will allow police officers to focus on the most serious issues while allowing us to increase our official presence, something we know riders appreciate.
This list is only part of what we’re doing to make transit safer and more welcoming. To learn more about all our efforts, we encourage you to review the latest updates to our Safety & Security Action Plan.
And we encourage you to tell us what else you think we should be doing. Please provide feedback through a short online survey, attend an upcoming visioning session, or contact Customer Relations any time.
Thank you as always for your support.
We are continuously accepting applications for full-time police officers (including lateral officers) and Community Service Officers. New officers are eligible for $4,000 hiring bonuses and start at $35/hour. Community Service Officers can receive up to $18,000 in tuition reimbursement. Learn more at metrotransit.org/transit-police-careers