LAPD, Long Beach police to join Metro security force under newly approved contract

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Under a new contract unanimously approved by Metro officials Thursday, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies this summer will begin sharing patrol duties on buses and trains with Los Angeles and Long Beach police officers.

The Metro system has primarily been the jurisdiction of the sheriff's department for the past five years. The change in security staffing comes after the transit agency's staff recommendation, which advocated more law enforcement personnel on subway and light-rail lines and buses to reduce response times.

The Los Angeles Police Department will take over enforcement within L.A., and the Long Beach Police Department will do the same within that city. Sheriff's deputies will be responsible for all other areas of the county.

The latter agency had fought to solely keep the multibillion-dollar contract, but Sheriff Jim McDonnell now says that he will work with the department's law enforcement partners on security.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has applauded the new arrangement, which takes effect July 1.

"The safety of our Metro passengers and employees must always be our first priority," said Garcetti, who serves as first vice chair on Metro's board of directors.

The move will not require the hiring of more officers but will necessitate more overtime hours, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the board prior to the vote.

"It is my contention that this will increase safety in Los Angeles because it puts more cops in more cars, on more buses, on more trains that work in concert with their brothers and sisters in the stations," Beck said.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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