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Metro Seeking Applicants to Serve on Public Safety Task Force to Re-envision Transit Policing

There’s a lot riding on Metro’s Public Safety Advisory Committee. Image via Metro

Metro is rolling up its sleeves and beginning the much-needed process of reimagining how public safety will work on board its buses and trains. The agency is nearing the end of its five-year $646 million policing contract that employs the LAPD, L.A. County Sheriff's Department, and Long Beach Police Department to patrol Metro transit. As the new contract approaches, the Metro board is planning to shift some resources away from armed response and towards a community-based approach that will include unarmed transit ambassadors, community stewardship of transit spaces, and outreach and services for unhoused riders.

At the urging of community groups - and under the leadership of boardmembers Janice Hahn and Mike Bonin - in June, the Metro board approved four motions that work together to craft, in the words of Mike Bonin, "smarter, more effective solutions" to keeping transit safe.

A big part of this transition will be the work of Metro's new Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC), established by this Bonin motion. The PSAC will include 15 community member volunteers. Metro is asking interested riders to apply to serve on the PSAC. Applications are due Friday November 13.

The move is long overdue, but could represent a good first step. When the previous policing contract was first announced in late 2016, SBLA critiqued the extent to which Metro ignored concerns about racial profiling and had not even bothered to open a discussion about what a "safe" transit environment and public safety meant to the lower-income brown and Black riders that comprised its core ridership.

Below is Metro's full PSAC announcement:

Please consider applying to join our new Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) and share this opportunity with others. Applications are open October 19 - November 13, 2020. Below is some basic background on the PSAC. Click here for more information including links to apply to join this Committee.

What is the PSAC?
Following the George Floyd protests earlier this year, the Metro Board is seeking recommendations on how to reform the agency’s policing practices. The PSAC will be part of this effort working in partnership with community leaders to re-envision transit safety and community-based approaches to policing.

Who are we seeking?
Metro is seeking 15 community members and three alternates who:

  • Regularly ride the Metro System;
  • Are committed to ensuring that Metro follows best practices for providing transportation that is safe, and feels safe for our customers; and
  • Bring relevant knowledge and expertise as a resident, advocate for racial justice and/or public safety reform, law enforcement expert, mental health provider or expert, or social services provider or expert.

What is the time commitment?
Applicants should plan on being able to meet until June 2022. The exact meeting schedule will be established once the PSAC is formed. We anticipate that the PSAC will meet twice per month in a virtual setting, most likely late afternoon or early evening.

Thank you for your continuing support of Metro’s efforts.

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