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Council to Metro’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer: We’re Not Comfortable With Gold Line Security

Published on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | 2:54 pm
 
A homeless man from Georgia was arrested with this cache of weapons at East Pasadena’s Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line Station by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies after they caught him urinating in public in 2017. A Metro official said Monday crimes in the metro system over the last five years have decreased by 23.63%. Image courtesy Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

In response to more than a year of security and maintenance complaints about local Metro Gold Line stations, the City Council heard a lengthy presentation from a top L.A. County Metro security official Monday, on overall Gold Line security and maintenance operations, including law enforcement, station maintenance, and homeless outreach and engagement.

In 2019, the nine Pasadena stations saw battery cases at every station except Lake, with four of those at Fillmore, a robbery at Del Mar, two robberies at Allen, and ten incidents at Sierra Madre, which included all of those types of incidents.

‘We’re not feeling comfortable with the Gold Line operations here in Pasadena, and it’s vital to the City’s success. We have all these stations, we’re proud of them, and we think that they are an important part of our future, but we just have to tell you that there are concerns here, so I look forward to some additional dialogue,” Mayor Terry Tornek told Aston T. Greene, Interim Chief of Metro Systems Security and Law Enforcement.

Metro security is currently updating its Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with local law enforcement agencies including Pasadena Police and would be embarking on a joint system-wide training program with local agencies. Greene reported noted that the MOU with Pasadena was last updated in 2003.

The new MOU would allow Metro to share technology with local law enforcement, including live access to station cameras, to help with incidents and emergencies.

Metro has its own homeless outreach program and also pairs up with PATH (Persons Assisting the Homeless). Metro also works with the Unified Homeless Response Center in Los Angeles. This month 12 homeless people have accepted assistance from the team.

Officials with Metro have recently met with Pasadena Police Chief John Perez to establish a relationship with the department’s HOPE team. The acronym stands for Homeless Outreach Psychiatric Evaluation.

“They don’t simply pass out cards, they will literally take that person to the shelter, even if its temporary shelters.” Greene said.

Councilmember Gene Masuda, who said he rides the Gold Line often, said he was “confused” regarding the “multi-layered” Metro security. Masuda remarked that he often sees officers leaving the trains between jurisdictions, with no officers taking their place.

Greene responded that passengers can expect to see officers immediately at any emergency, and transit security at various stations.

“You may not see an officer at every square foot of every station,” said Greene. “But what we can assure passengers of, is that use of our transit watch app, or using 911, will generate a quick response.”

 

 

 

 

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