Pasadena Police Department to Patrol Local Metro Stations?

Department Recommends City Authorize $132,000 contract with Metro for first year of services

Published : Friday, November 3, 2017 | 6:35 AM

Train Stations

Today’s likely Public Safety Committee recommendation of a contract between Pasadena Police and the Metropolitan Transit Authority would not replace Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel with Pasadena officers at Gold Line train stations within the City of Pasadena but would increase security and safety for the system’s riders, city officials said.

“We all know that the light rain train is regulated by Metro, and it is policed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, at least in our community” Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez explained last week. “What my officers are going to be addressing are the quality of life issues in the property adjacent to the train stations. We hope to have creative police presence there, and we hope to make an impact.”

According to the staff report from the Pasadena Police, the Department will “help Metro maintain a safe and secure environment for patrons at the Gold Line Stations, as well as residents and businesses and their patrons in the surrounding areas to improve quality of life through combined visibility, outreach and enforcement.”

The contract’s budget would pay an overtime salary rate for police officers for a total allocation of up $132,000 for the first year.

The City Manager would also be authorized to extend the Police Department contract for two additional three-year extensions, provided all terms and conditions remain unchanged without further Council authorization.

The idea for the increased patrols originated with the Pasadena Police Department.

As Police Chief Phillip Sanchez explained, “I had my staff approach the Metro light rail administration about them funding foot beat officers around the platform and around the train depots and they thought it was a good idea. What my officers are going to do is walk the areas that are adjacent to the platform and adjacent to the light rail train.”

City Manager Steve Mermell noted, “It’s not so much crime, there’s issues with homelessness, and other things, and just we want to make sure that the stations present a safe, welcoming environment for people.” adding that “We hear from some people that they’re uncomfortable perhaps at night”

Mermell also acknowledged that with the end of daylight savings time, evenings will be darker earlier, and explained that the additional officers provide an extra level of security.

“It just enhances the services that the Sheriff’s [deputies] are providing,” said Mermell.

There are six Metro Gold Line stations within the City of Pasadena—Fillmore, Del Mar, Memorial Park, Lake, Allen, and Sierra Madre Villa.

Specifically, the report continued, the Pasadena police will provide policing services to the Gold Line Train Stations by four police officers at an overtime rate, split into two shifts—the first two officers from 6:00 am – 10:00 am, for early morning commuters and the second two officers from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm for the evening commuters—for a total of eight hours a day.

The days of the week will be based on “quantifiable statistics related to ridership, pedestrian activity and other relative criteria requiring additional policing services,” according to the report.

Chief Sanchez acknowledged that some local Gold Line stations are more troublesome than others, saying, “There’s been activity around Fillmore, there always has, and that’s the first stop in our city. So it’s concerning. We have put a lot of directive resources out there to mitigate those quality of life issues and we think that with the additional assistance of the funding from the metro, that we’ll be able to do even more.”

Metro station team officers will be assigned as the first responders to Priority 1 offenses, where a crime is in progress and there is an immediate threat to life or property, and/or the possibility of apprehending a suspect is high. Metro team officers will also respond to Priority 2 offenses, defined as “an active event in which there is not an immediate threat to life or property, and the possibility of apprehending a suspect is not imminent. Generally, sometime has elapsed between the crime occurring and its reporting.

Metro Team officers will also respond to events in which there is not a threat to life or property and there is not a likelihood of apprehending a suspect, such as auto burglary, grand theft, and felony malicious mischief.

The staff report also noted that Pasadena police will not provide policing services on the trains or platforms, as Metro will continue to contract those policing responsibilities to other law enforcement agencies, such as the LA County Sheriff’s Department.

“It’s kind of a pilot project,” Sanchez added, saying, “We’re grateful that Metro would see fit that we’re a quality agency, and that we’re proactive in that regard and that they’re willing to fund that effort.”

Should the Public Safety Committee approve the recommendation, the contract will be voted on Monday evening at the full City Council meeting.

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