City council opposes proposal to remove law enforcement from metro stations

Story by Charlotte Dekle and Alison Wang

photo by Erin lee
Staff photographer

City council approved a letter opposing funding for law enforcement in metro stations at its meeting on Wednesday, December 1. The letter follows a recommendation made by the Metro Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) that the larger Los Angeles area will completely remove uniformed law enforcement from subway operations.

In February 2017, Metro approved a law enforcement contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Long Beach Police Department. All three departments were contracted to provide policing services on the railway and bus lines. In June 2017, then-councilor Diana Mahmud and then-mayor Michael Cacciotti called for a letter to be sent to Metro to address the visible lack of enforcement of the railway line law. and South Pasadena bus.

Mayor Mahmud’s letter has since been revised and presented to council. The letter describes the main reasons for the opposition, ranging from late response to crime to lack of resources.

“It is clear that municipalities and local jurisdictions would face immense challenges if Metro reduced the presence of law enforcement on railways, platforms and buses,” the letter said.

The PSAC was formed in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in 2020 to reform current policies and reallocate law enforcement resources to community safety alternatives. The council, made up of community members, alternates and former official employees, includes community safety and community work services, advocacy organizations and user organizations to meet the needs of the community.

The Nov. 18 proposal attempted to reallocate the $ 75 million earmarked for the police contract to an unapproved alternative. Under the proposal, police work in metro stations will also be reassigned to the jurisdictions of local police stations.

“[Our] the proposal is not to eradicate the police, but rather to ensure that Metro does not pay for a special contract, ”the proposal states. “Instead, responding to problems on the metro system would be the responsibility of the various municipal police departments as part of their standard duties.”

During the public comment section of the proceedings, resident and local activist John Srebalus expressed his disapproval of the council’s action with a heated speech on the racial and economic inequalities of the Metropolitan Police.

“You are misrepresenting the PSAC when you say it is about fully funding law enforcement,” Srebalus said. “It’s a dog whistle and another flavor of your resistance to a policy that dares to improve the lives of homeless people and POCs. Half of all the people quoted on Metro are black, but only 18% of all Metro users are black… The PSAC still plans to employ peace officers on the metro. These service-oriented agents will indeed be better equipped for the situations that unfold on our transit system.

However, Mayor Pro Tem Cacciotti explained that the proposal presented was $ 75 million allocated for law enforcement or nothing.

“We really agree, there has to be a new model and more resources, but the decision we were given on short notice was zero funding for law enforcement. I can’t accept it, ”Caccoiti said.

Cacciotti, Mahmud and board member Jon Primuth all echoed the sense of the lack of a police presence leading to rampant crime. Police Chief Brian Solinski also provided details on the types of metro-related calls the SPPD receives.

“653 calls with the police in progress, specifically related to the [metro lines]”Solinksi said.” That includes a lot of suspicious people, but it also includes assaults, assaults with lethal weapons, suspicious deaths; a number of things that really take away resources.

The action was passed unanimously and will be submitted for consideration to Metro’s larger committee. If approved, the proposal will eliminate all law enforcement from subway stations along the yellow line, including at the South Pasadena stop.

City council opposes proposal to remove law enforcement from metro stations was last modified: December 3, 2021 through Charlotte dekle

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