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Metro Transit increases safety measures on buses, trains

Attracting riders back and the increase in crime was the driving force behind boosting safety measures.

MINNEAPOLIS — Metro Transit is ramping up security on all buses and trains.

Attracting riders back and the increase in crime was the driving force behind boosting safety measures.

The new initiative will increase the number of Community Service Officers under the Metro Transit Police Department from 20 to 70 by July of next year.

According to Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizell, the Community Service Officers are college students pursuing a law enforcement degree.

The Community Service Officers will work alongside police officers to help riders navigate the system.

Community Service Officers cannot write tickets but can give warnings.

"They will have on there is a flashlight, and a radio and a taser and the rest, we're under development," Frizell said.

Frizell doesn't foresee a problem in recruiting officers, noting that Metro Transit police is one of the fastest-growing departments in the state.

"Our last period of recruitment we had well over 210 applicants," Frizell said. We recruit from right here from within the region because it's naturally diverse. That's how we've attained a 47% diversity rate with the Metro Transit Police Department."

More eyes will also be on riders with the expansion of the Real Time Information Center.

The center will have an 11-person staff including 4 police officers who will be monitoring the metro transit vehicles while they are en route.

The Real Time Information Center will also help when it comes to criminal investigations and assisting officers who are called to the scene.

The new safety plan will cost $4 million a year and will be covered with federal funding through 2026. According to Metro Transit, if rider numbers increase by 5%, it will then pay for itself.

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