MINNEAPOLIS - One of the largest law enforcement agencies in the region is one you probably don't think much about.
The Transit Police Department watches over public transportation like the bus or light rail, but many riders told KARE 11 that they hardly see transit officer and when they do, they don't appear to have a true identity.
"I just thought they were hired hands with a security uniform on," said Corey Davis. "I didn't really think they had a lot of authority to them or that people really respected them as an authority."
The observations are backed up by the findings of a new internal report. Officers also complained of a lack of identity. It's something the new Metro Transit police chief says he is aware of.
"Transit police is a new organization," said Chief John Harrington. "We've only been around for about 20 years. To think that it's going to have a firmly established identity I think is a little premature."
Just two weeks on the job, Harrington oversees more than 100 officers. He points to a declining crime rate and high rider satisfaction as proof the department is functional.
"I'd say we're far from broken. Are we a department that's in development? Absolutely," said Harrington.
But he does not discount the report's findings. Officers say this is a department with no clear mission. Something he vows to change.
"Use this (report) as a blueprint. That's how I see this thing.," he said.
The new chief says he has already begun meeting with officers to more clearly define their role.
While they are full-fledged officers, fare enforcement and other routine duties will still be expected.
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