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LA Metro To Rethink Armed Policing

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L.A. Metro is joining a growing number of public agencies taking steps to rethink policing under pressure from communities that have long borne the brunt of law enforcement harrassment and abuse.

Metro’s board of directors voted Thursday to create a new committee that will study ways to replace armed police officers with social workers, mental health professionals and unarmed "transit ambassadors.”

Currently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, LAPD and Long Beach police patrol the system based on jurisdiction, along with Metro’s own armed security force and a private contractor.

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Latino and Black residents make up over 80% of county bus riders and more than 60% of rail riders, according to Metro data.

Some Metro board members called the new committee an important first step to better address the concerns of these core riders — many of whom have expressed fear of being profiled and harrassed by police on the system.