LA Metro board to vote on replacing armed officers on transit

The motion urges Metro to develop policies for different responses to nonviolent crimes and other offenses.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors on Thursday will consider whether to replace armed officers on public transit amid the growing movement across the nation to overhaul policing procedures.

The motion urges Metro to develop policies for different responses to nonviolent crimes and other offenses. A committee would first be appointed to rethink public safety on the agency's transit system.

The motion is co-sponsored by City Councilman Mike Bonin and county Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis.

Bonin, who is a member of the board, said as agencies across the country reassess policing, Metro needs to "make changes that assure that all of its passengers feel safe."

"That starts by acknowledging that we cannot rely on an armed police presence for every issue, and we need smarter, more effective solutions," he said in statement.

Currently, law enforcement agencies that patrol the transit system include the LAPD and the sheriff's department.

The Metro motion calls for the creation of a Transit Public Safety Advisory Committee that would develop the new policies and approaches in consultation with passengers and community members representative of the agency's ridership.

Potential alternatives the motion proposes include a transit ambassador program that provides staffed presence at Metro facilities and on Metro vehicles. Social workers or mental health professionals would also be considered for responding to nonviolent crimes and other offenses.

"For years, Metro has heard that its system of policing was making huge segments of its passengers feel less safe and feel threatened," Bonin said. "This is our moment to change that."

The board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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