WASHINGTON - MARCH 29: Eric Croom (C) and Anthony Montgomery (L) of Metro Transit Police patrol with their canines Kota (C) and Sabre (L) stand during a photo opportunity for the media at Gallery Place-Chinatown Metrorail station March 29, 2010 in Washington, DC. Metro Transit Police Acting Chief Jeri Lee said in a new release by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority that Metro Transit Police has conducted random station and rail yard sweeps throughout the day as part of heightened security associated with the terrorist attacks on subway stations in Moscow. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Security is important for schools, especially early in the year. But Metro Transit Police are extending that security to watch over kids as they travel to and from school.
Metro Police will step up patrols on Metrorail to keep an eye on students as they ride. There have been past complaints about bad behavior and horseplay in stations, but this year’s security increase has a different motivation.
Two huge high-profile fights involving school-age kids have riders and Metro officials concerned those large disturbances could become an issue during the school year.
The Metro rail system plays an important role in school travel. Many students use it to get to and from school because of the lack of a school bus system in the District. So the combination of recent fights and the sudden influx of students of the systems means Metro police will take on somewhat of a chaperone role.
"The big difference that patrons will see is that our officers won't just be at stations, they'll also be riding the trains," Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Tracie Simmons said. "They'll be escorting the students."
In general, Simmons said the officers will "set the tone," encouraging students to act appropriately.
The Maryland Transit Authority launched a similar campaign in 2008 called "Ride, Respect and Relax." The initiative asked students to pledge to speak in normal tones, follow driver’s directions and discourage bad behavior by other students.
The MTA is also heavily relied upon by Baltimore students who use it as a substitute school bus system. School there begins later this month and MTA plans to team up with police to educate students and place police on trains to keep and eye on students.