An $82-million million contract to double the number of private security guards to patrol the Metro system and facilities was approved by the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday.
As the above Metro staff report notes, one of the issues that we hear the most about from riders is safety and security. According to an upcoming customer survey, 15 percent of riders said they want to see more systemwide security and 29 percent of former riders said they wanted more security.
Metro officials said that the security guards are also expected to serve as the eyes and ears for law enforcement. Guards are instructed to notify law enforcement when appropriate and they are authorized to intervene whenever they personally witness an alleged crime.
A contract for law enforcement will be considered separately by the Board at a later date. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) currently holds the law enforcement contract.
Metro has three types of security: its own security guards, private security guards (RMI has the current contract) and full-blown law enforcement officers (the LASD). The majority of the current RMI security guards are stationed at Metro maintenance facilities and are not customer facing. Metro plans to also use the private security guards at 34 different key bus hubs, rail stations and parking facilities.
Metro CEO Phil Washington said that the agency also plans to add to its own security staff.
Here’s the most recent crime report on the Metro system from the LASD: