Metro riders will likely see more officers patrolling buses and trains as the transit system increases security in response to a shooting aboard a Green Line train earlier this week.
Metro Transit Police outlined a new plan Thursday morning, saying riders should expect "sharp increases" in the number of patrol officers at certain times of day.
In addition, WMATA signed a $1.2 million contract to hire private security officers from Rockville-based BTI Security, News4's Scott MacFarlane reported.
The private security officers will police the agency's revenue facility in Alexandria, as well as escort the technicians who service Metro station fare machines, MacFarlane reported.
The following measures will take effect immediately:
- Reassign 17 officers to patrol operations. Metro's contract with the private security firm will allow 11 of its officers to start patrolling immediately; an additional six officers will be available in 60 days. The additional officers will be assigned to patrols based on crime trends.
- Relieve existing patrol officers from "revenue protection" duties. Some officers on patrol duties who spend a portion of their time on revenue protection duties will be able to focus on traditional police duties at all times.
- Implement "power hour" deployments, increasing the number of officers on duty during certain times by up to 100 percent. Metro will use overtime to overlap day-shift and evening-shift officers on selected days and at selected locations.
- Reassign officers on "limited duty" status to key stations to provide additional "eyes and ears." Officers who are cleared to work on limited duty status will be assigned to stations based on crime trends.
"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 Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik. "At the general manager's direction, we will take immediate steps to increase patrols using our existing resources."
On Tuesday, a man was shot and wounded on a Green Line train that was stopped at the Anacostia. Two teens, ages 16 and 19, were arrested and charged in the shooting. The 16-year-old will be tried as an adult.
And earlier this month, six high school students were charged with assault after a man was attacked and beaten in the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station. The teens have been allowed back in school, however, a judge ruled they can no longer ride Metrorail.
News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss reported Metro is also working on public service announcements in light of the recent incidents.