Metro Board Delays Transit Policing Contract For Three Months

Seated in the front row at today's Metro board meeting are LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, and LBPD Chief Robert Luna. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Seated in the front row at today's Metro board meeting are LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, and LBPD Chief Robert Luna. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Seated in the front row are LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Jim xxx
Seated in the front row at today’s Metro board meeting are LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, and LBPD Chief Robert Luna. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

At the end of today’s nearly 6-hour Metro board of directors meeting, the vote on the staff-recommended $547 million multi-agency transit policing contract was pushed back three months. Metro’s new transit policing arrangement would scale back the L.A. County Sheriffs Department’s current role in favor of a majority of the work being done by LAPD, with a small slice also going to Long Beach PD.

The vote broke down mostly along city-county lines. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, alongside his appointees Jacquelyn Dupont Walker and Mike Bonin, urged for approval today. County Supervisors Don Knabe and Sheila Kuehl led the charge for a delay. They were joined by directors John Fasana, Ara Najarian, Diane DuBois, James Butts, and Garcetti-appointee Paul Krekorian. Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Hilda Solis were not present for the vote.

Outgoing County Supervisor Mike Antonovich voted against the delay. Antonovich also introduced a motion to retain LASD policing of Union Station.

Director James Butts, the current Mayor of Inglewood and the only boardmember with extensive law enforcement experience including as the former chief of Santa Monica’s Police Department, questioned the accountability model in the proposed contracts. Alex Wiggins, Metro’s Executive Officer for System Security and Law Enforcement, tried to reassure that the new contract includes “only paying for services received” and thus is an improvement over Metro’s past LASD contracts. Butts still pushed for stricter contract accountability.

Testimony included the heads of the three law enforcement agencies under consideration: L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and LBPD Chief Robert Luna. LAPD and LBPD are understandably eager for the new arrangements which would contract for their services. LASD is understandably reluctant toward a policing contract that would diminish their role.

With LASD and LAPD essentially facing off over their respective slice of the pie, it is unclear what new and different compromise might emerge by February. What will be different in February is the presence of two supervisors Kathryn Barger and Janice Hahn, who replace Antonovich and Knabe respectively.

Other Metro board actions today included:

Metro CEO Phil Washington also announced a planned stakeholder advisory committee to draft Measure M spending guidelines, expected in early 2017.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Left to right, Metro security director Alex Wiggins, LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell,  LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, and LBPD Chief Robert Luna testifying in support of Metro's ballooning $646 million transit policing contract. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro Approves $646M Annual Multi-Agency Transit Policing Contract

|
At today’s meeting, the Metro board approved a new five-year multi-agency transit policing contract. For the past decade, transit policing had been done by the L.A. County Sheriff Department (LASD.) Under the new contract transit policing will be done by LAPD, LASD, and Long Beach Police Department. When the proposal first came to the board […]

Metro Extends Sheriff Contract 6 Months; What’s In Metro Policing’s Future?

|
Last week, the Metro Board of Directors finally took action on its repeatedly-extended, repeatedly-about-to-expire contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Metro approved a $44.44 million 6-month extension of the $83 million annual contract covering policing for its entire bus and rail transportation networks. This is the eleventh modification of the contract; most of […]

Metro April News: Crenshaw Work Stoppage, All Door Boarding, and More

|
Today was the April meeting of Metro’s board of directors. There was nothing earth-shatteringly controversial on the agenda, but below are a handful of updates. Crenshaw / LAX Construction Work Stoppage As mentioned on SBLA Twitter and explained in this headlined L.A. Times article, safety violations caused Metro to take the unprecedented step of stopping construction on […]

Six Updates From Today’s April Metro Board Meeting

|
Today’s monthly Metro board of directors meeting was one of the less eventful ones; it was sort of a lull in the news swirling around Metro’s planned November sales tax ballot measure. Nonetheless, there were a number of items that SBLA readers might find interesting. Metro Wi-Fi Phase 1 Operational SBLA has been noticing recent social […]