We’re happy to share that today the LA Metro Transportation Authority (Metro) Board unanimously approved a contract with three separate law enforcement agencies in an effort to improve safety on the Metro systems. The action grants authority and financial resources to the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) and allows them to provide law enforcement services on the Blue Line cars and the eight platforms located within the City of Long Beach.

The five year contract is effective July 1, 2017 and will allocate $30.1 million to the City of Long Beach. With about one third of the County of Los Angeles’ Blue Line operating within Long Beach and half of those located in our Downtown, the shift from Los Angeles Sheriff Department’s  watch to LBPD is of utmost importance, as law enforcement response times are expected to be reduced from the current 16 minutes to just five or six minutes.

“We have always advocated for LBPD to enforce the Blue Line locally,” said Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) President and CEO Kraig Kojian. “With the Blue Line being one of the busiest light rail systems in the country, serving approximately 24 million riders per year, safety is and should always remain as the number one priority for passengers. Increasing safety is squarely in line with our mission and this contract now allows our own police officers to provide a greater level of service and protection on a much needed asset that our residents, visitors and stakeholders rely on.”

In recent weeks, the DLBA encouraged the community to join us in our support for this change in law enforcement service on the Metro. We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in this effort and made their voices heard. This  collaboration was led by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who now serves as a member of the Metro Board and the Long Beach City Council who earlier this month also supported this action.

Special thanks to Second District Councilmember Jeanine Pearce and representatives from the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, who attended today’s hearing and supported the motion. Everyone’s letters, emails, and social media posts helped make a difference in this motion passing.

This change in law enforcement will fulfill Metro’s goal of “a service-oriented and felt presence” policing method on the Metro Rail. This community policing has long been a citywide practice by LBPD in our neighborhoods, adding the Blue Line to this will increase safety —perceived and real — on our transit system.