On Thursday June 18, the LACMTA Ad-Hoc Transit Policing Oversight Committee approved a plan to extend a contract with the LA County Sheriffs Department to provide law enforcement services. The contract is a one year extension from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. The motion will be taken up at the June 25 General Board Meeting and it is expected to pass without much debate. This short term contract extension will give the MTA time to review its options on a long term contract for transit policing. At the end of the review process it is more than likely that the LASD will retain its contract and will be the MTA's transit security option for the foreseeable future.
In addition to the Sheriffs contract there is a plan to expand the scope of duties and authority of the Transit Security Officers. The MTA will take up a motion at the June 25th Board Meeting to direct the new CEO Phillip Washington to seek and support California State legislation to give Transit Security Officers greater policing authority and armaments. The newly elected Sheriff Jim McDonnell has endorsed the plan and has agreed to work with the Transit Security Officers to improve safety and security on the transit system. SMART Transportation General Committee 875 has been work closely with Teamsters Local 911 to offer its support and assistance in getting this initiative passed. Operator safety is a top priority for the General Committee and they believe that greater participation from the Transit Security Officers will go a long way to create a safer transit system.