WASHINGTON - Metro's General Manager and Transit Police Chief have announced new plans to keep Metro riders safe following a series of violent attacks.
General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and Chief Ron Pavlik say they plan to increase patrols onboard buses, trains and within Metrorail stations, which will result in sharp increases in the number of officers on patrol at certain times of day and provide "additional eyes and ears at key locations."
According to a press release, the following measures will be implemented immediately:
- Reassign 17 officers to Patrol Operations. MTPD will transfer responsibility for securing revenue to an outside firm, a move that will make available 11 officers immediately and an additional 6 officers within 60 days. This action will increase the overall size of MTPD's Patrol Operations Bureau by more than five percent. The additional officers will be assigned to patrols based on crime trends.
- Relieve existing Patrol Officers from revenue protection duties. Currently, some officers on patrol duties spend a portion of their tour on revenue protection duties. A secondary benefit of transferring revenue security to an outside firm is that current Patrol Officers will be able to focus on traditional police duties at all times.
- Implement "power hour" deployments, surging the number of officers on duty at selected times by up to 100 percent. MTPD will strategically use overtime to overlap the Department's Day Shift and Evening Shift officers on selected days and at selected locations. By having the two shifts overlap, the number of officers on duty can nearly double during hours when patrol coverage is needed most (i.e. during late-afternoon and evening hours).
- Reassign officers on qualifying "limited duty" status to key stations to provide additional "eyes and ears." Officers who are unable to perform full duty, but are cleared to work in limited duty status will be assigned to stations based on crime trends. These officers, who may be in high-visibility vests or in casual clothes, will be equipped with police radios to summon on-duty MTPD officers when needed.
The announcement comes just days after two teens were arrested in connection with the shooting of a man at the Anacostia Metro station, and weeks after a string of violent attacks on Metro involving youths.
"Every Metro rider deserves to be able to travel freely without fear, and we will take all appropriate steps to reassure riders and respond to crime trends," said Chief Pavlik in a statement. "At the General Manager's direction, we will take immediate steps to increase patrols using our existing resources."