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Creating a Safer and More Comfortable Transit System

The results of an independent security assessment of MetroLink have been released. As we review the MetroLink Security Assessment, it is important that our transit customers, our stakeholders and the community we serve know the steps we have taken over the last year to create a safer Metro Transit system.

We are responsible for the safety and security of our customers and employees, and this is the highest priority of both Metro Transit and our professional MetroLink law enforcement partners at the St. Louis County Police Department, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. Together, we have been working closely with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and WSP, the assessment contractor, following their launch of the MetroLink Security Assessment last May.

As areas were identified as needing improvement, we immediately implemented, when possible, adjustments to address those concerns. We did not wait for this assessment to be completed to begin making real changes to our approach to safety and security on the Metro Transit system. Over the last year, Metro Transit and its professional police partners have been working on developing – and delivering – an actionable security program. We have made significant progress during that time, changes that many of our riders have already noticed and changes that address many of the recommendations detailed in the MetroLink Security Assessment. A summary of our efforts can be found below.

While considerable progress has been made, there is still more to be done. We will continue to work together with our partners over the next year to refine the security strategy, address the recommendations from the assessment, and ensure our customers and our region have a safe, reliable and comfortable transit system.

Taulby Roach

Taulby Roach
President and CEO
Bi-State Development

Jessica_Mefford-Miller

Jessica Mefford-Miller
Executive Director
Metro Transit

 

Resources

MetroLink Security Assessment Recommendations

Executive Summary – MetroLink Security Assessment

Final Report Documents – MetroLink Security Assessment (Upper-right corner)

Progress Summary

Security Personnel on the Metro Transit System

The most effective strategy for creating a safe and welcoming transit system is the coordinated deployment of visible, effective security personnel across the system. Talking with our passengers, we know that is what they want to see most. Last year, we worked together with our professional police partners to increase our presence on the system by focusing on targeted onboard patrols.

We need to be where our customers are – on trains and buses. This new strategy has resulted in increased MetroBus and MetroLink checks, increased patrols and increased fare enforcement, and it maximizes the effectiveness of the MetroLink Police Unit, which includes 40 Metro Public Safety Officers, 130 contracted security and fare enforcement personnel, and 68 police officers and deputies from St. Louis County, St. Louis City and St. Clair County.

We are also revising our approach to contracted security to focus on customer service and fare enforcement. We will begin the procurement process this spring to take bids for contracted security services.

Station Design

We are evaluating the best ways to make changes to the physical design of the transit system to make it safer and to create a better environment for riders and the surrounding neighborhoods. This includes short-term solutions that can be implemented quickly.

Last fall, we teamed up with our professional law enforcement partners and Citizens for Modern Transit to launch a MetroLink Access pilot project that combined extra personnel with temporary fencing to create dedicated entrances and exits to the station platforms at the Fairview Heights, Forest Park-DeBaliviere and North Hanley MetroLink Stations. This program received positive feedback from riders, Metro Public Safety and law enforcement, and we are extending the program and expanding it to include the Central West End and Delmar Loop Stations.

We are also beginning the redesign of five original MetroLink Stations – Laclede’s Landing, Convention Center, 8th & Pine, Forest Park-DeBaliviere and Delmar Loop. This effort will focus on placemaking and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), using infrastructure and amenities – including lighting, clear sight lines, new signage – that will make the system safer, provide a better transit experience and build stronger connections with the surrounding neighborhoods.

Technology

Last year, we introduced new technology to provide transit riders with resources they can use to easily connect with Metro Public Safety and law enforcement in the event of emergencies. In April 2018, we partnered with Noonlight, a personal safety mobile application, to give customers the ability to request assistance from law enforcement with just a touch of a button – even if they are in a position where they are unable to speak or text.

In July 2018, we launched a text messaging service that allows customers to quickly and discreetly contact Metro Public Safety – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – at 314-300-0188.

We continue to work and collaborate with our police partners on technology, including expansion of Metro’s CCTV camera surveillance system and making it more easily available to law enforcement; and the implementation of a shared radio communication system in the first part of 2019.

To ensure Metro Transit riders, law enforcement and security officers have reliable communications, we launched a pilot project in 2018 to provide Wi-Fi and cellular coverage in downtown MetroLink tunnels. Last November, a new pilot was launched to evaluate the potential of Wi-Fi services on MetroBus. We are now pursuing a larger program that would offer Wi-Fi and cellular service across the Metro Transit system, and we hope to expand this service later this year.

Security Assessment Recommendations

Security Strategy

 In Progress  Under Review
Develop strategic security plan
Establish and communicate roles/responsibilities for system security partners
Clarify legal authority and establish accountability, transparency and oversight for Metro, its contractors and contracted law enforcement
Work with security partners to build support for strategic security plan
Define security and policing performance metrics
Facilitate connectivity across security, safety and emergency management programs
Define, collect and analyze crime and incident data using collaborative ownership and sharing protocols within a centralized crime reporting database
Use data to inform system security and deployment
Finalize shared radio use with clear protocols
Improve media relations and messaging regarding security
De-politicize conversation regarding Metro security

Police/Security Staffing

 In Progress  Under Review
Align Metro Public Safety leadership with refined security strategy
Re-evaluate security staff related to new strategy
Remove use of privately-owned weapons of Public Safety Officers
Utilize industry best practices to determine staffing needs and deploy based on data/perceived needs
Base deployment strategies on good security data and an understanding of the real and perceived security needs of the MetroLink system and its customers, and coordinate with law enforcement and contracted security
Eliminate or phase out Metro K-9 teams
Emphasize customer service for contracted security and increase supervision requirements and training
Develop/revise contracts with law enforcement partners
Emphasize community policing in law enforcement contracts and provide transit related training
Define requirements of personnel, including command staff, assigned to MetroLInk detail
Train law enforcement in transit/rail operation and needs
Utilize contract requirements to ensure assigned law enforcement is aligned with security strategy
Continue work to improve positive working relationships with all partners
Remove all conflict from the public realm

Procedures and Training

 In Progress  Under Review
Revise and implement, train and enforce standard operating procedures for security operations
Refresh MetroLink code of conduct and post system-wide
Enforce code of conduct with civil penalty or arrest
Develop transit-specific community policing procedures
Develop a training program with robust requirements and certification covering all aspects of security strategy
Develop specialized training covering topics such as mental illness, substance abuse and disorderly conduct
Provide specific training to contracted staff that reflects the transit environment

Fare Enforcement

 In Progress  Under Review
Establish clear legal authority and transparent policies for fare enforcement
Clearly delineate paid fare zones
Clearly state and consistently enforce policies
Provide training for enforcement that leaves room for passenger education and fare purchasing
Use all security resources for enforcement with strategy of sweeps
Evaluate targeted fare enforcement areas
Establish a desired inspection rate
Develop initial and refresher enforcement training
Evaluate equipment needs for fare inspections
Measure fare evasion through enforcement activities

CPTED

 In Progress  Under Review
Develop and implement a security design criteria resource
Update signage content and placement
Make signage consistent and remove redundant or confusing signage
Enhance wayfinding and provide customer service training to include passenger wayfinding
Replace remaining non-LED lighting and implement lighting maintenance program
Evaluate site lines and implement feasible fixes
Develop guidelines for advertisement placement
Install supplemental lighting to minimize shadows
Continue good maintenance practices
Communicate maintenance efforts with firm timelines
Develop and enforce clear paid fare zones
Minimize dead space around platforms

Technology

 In Progress  Under Review
Update CCTV and pair with other technology
Evaluate existing Passenger Assistance and Emergency Telephones and upgrade as needed
Continue to advance efforts for CCTV sharing
Update the design, user interface and placement of Ticket Vending Machines and validators
Develop communication protocols that are followed and enforced
Implement redundant communication system
Implement singular shared radio frequency   ✔
Update or supplement uniforms with high visibility elements