Last week, the Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners approved five new agreements with St. Louis regional law enforcement agencies and a new contracted security provider. These contracts are a key part of a regional strategy to improve safety and security on the Metro Transit system.
“These agreements are a testament to the partnerships and regional collaboration that are focused on making the Metro Transit system safer for everyone who relies on it,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development President and Chief Executive Officer. “Working together, we are making real, measurable progress to improve public safety, and we will continue to see more positive changes and improvements as we move into the coming year.”
The approved contracts will support Metro’s comprehensive, multi-layered approach to safety and security – which includes uniformed law enforcement, Metro Transit Security Specialists, security officers and fare inspectors.
Over the last 18 months, this approach has undergone several enhancements to improve its effectiveness. This includes increasing the number of personnel on the system, exploring changes to station design to improve security, and shifting the focus of Transit Security Specialists and security officers to two key areas: addressing nuisance behavior and keeping transit vehicles and locations secure.
“Our Public Safety team is committed to engaging our customers and providing them with a safe and comfortable ride on the Metro Transit system,” said Stephen Berry, General Manager of Metro Public Safety. “To support that, we have leveraged new infrastructure and technology to better control access and monitor the system. We are increasing patrols and changing uniforms to improve our visibility. We are strengthening fare inspection and rule enforcement. We have changed our approach – and our customers are already seeing a difference.”
Contracts have been approved with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department for policing services on the Metro Transit system. Under these agreements, St. Louis County Police Department will assign 44 uniformed officers on the Metro Transit system, and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department will assign 15 uniformed deputies. In addition, each agreement outlines specific roles and responsibilities, which includes patrolling Metro Transit vehicles and at Metro transit centers; engaging and assisting transit riders; fare enforcement; and supporting Metro Transit Public Safety teams.
The Bi-State Development Board of Commissioners also approved two Memorandums of Understanding with the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and St. Louis City Sheriff’s Department to allow Metro Transit to obtain services from Secondary Deputy Sheriffs – deputy sheriffs who would provide law enforcement services to Metro during off-duty hours. The employment of secondary deputies will give Metro Transit additional security resources on the transit system and will allow for more effective deployment of law enforcement personnel, Metro Transit Security Specialists, and contracted security officers.
The Board of Commissioners also approved a contract with G4S Secure Solutions, which will provide contracted security services for the Metro Transit system beginning on February 1, 2020. A committee comprised of representatives from the St. Louis County Police Department, Metro Public Safety Department and Metro Transit Operations evaluated proposals submitted by several companies who bid on the contract. The committee selected G4S Secure Solutions based on its ability to provide detailed reporting capabilities and intelligence collection efforts, personnel location identification and monitoring, and enhanced training for its staff – which all align with Metro Transit’s updated approach to contracted security services.