Alternatives to armed law enforcement will be considered on Thursday when the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors meets to consider appointing a committee to rethink public security in the agency's transit system.
The discussion will include alternatives to how armed law enforcement responded to some incidents. Possible alternatives would be a transit ambassador program, which enables a personal presence in subway facilities and in subway vehicles as well as social workers, mediators or psychiatric specialists.
The proposal, jointly sponsored by Los Angeles City Councilor Mike Bonin and county regulators Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, urges Metro to develop guidelines for different responses to non-violent crimes and other crimes.
"Across the country and across Los Angeles, people are rethinking how to ensure public security," said Bonin. "Metro has to be at the forefront and make changes that ensure that all passengers feel safe. It starts with the fact that we can't rely on an armed police presence for every problem and need smarter and more effective solutions."
Bonin said jurisdictions across the country are considering similar approaches to public security. The Los Angeles City Council is considering the possibility of a new emergency model, in which professionals would respond to many types of calls instead of police officers, including issues related to homelessness, mental health, and drug abuse.
The Metro application calls for the creation of a transit safety advisory committee to develop the new policies and approaches in consultation with passengers and community members who are representative of the agency's drivers.
The board is also expected to consider a separate request on Thursday calling on the agency to develop "clear criteria for the need and appropriateness of suspension of service". The application was launched in response to Metro's decision to end passenger traffic on May 30 and strand many passengers in the middle of a curfew.