At its December 10, 2016 meeting Southern California Transit Advocates took a position in support of the staff recommendation on Metro's transit policing contract which is being heard at today’s board meeting.
Thankfully the board report being considered at today’s Metro Board meeting reflects LASD’s cooperation with the new multi-agency policing strategy. I guess their attempt to continue the status quo was not flying and they decided to live with having a portion of the new contract.
This victory is bittersweet. My long held opinion has been the optimal solution would be re-establishing the Metro Police Department but I think this 2004 Metro staff report by outlining what that would entail makes it clear that is impractical. Back in 1997 when the department was dissolved in favor of the LASD/LAPD partnership the late James Cragin, a Gardena city councilmember then on the Metro Board, stated while the policing change was being discussed that once the Department was disbanded it would probably be impossible to ever bring it back. And that certainly has proved to be the case.
My hope is that this new contract is, at least, a first step toward effective responsible policing. A friend of mine likes to joke that sheriff deputies liked to station themselves at rail stations based on the proximity to a Starbucks. For the enormous amounts of money Metro spends on transit policing, we, as passengers and taxpayers, deserve better.