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Transportation and Mobility

LA Metro Leaders Want To Rethink Public Safety, But Say They're Forced To Give Police More Money

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Los Angeles Police Department officers patrol an L (Gold) Line station in this file photo. (Courtesy L.A. Metro)
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Los Angeles County's public transit agency pays the LAPD, L.A. County Sheriff's Department and Long Beach Police Department to patrol its system.

But those roughly $645 million, five-year contracts (which run through June 2022) weren't large enough, according to L.A. Metro's upper management. The agency's board has voted to add $36 million to the contracts through the end of this year.

Community activists and transit advocates opposed the increased spending. They've been calling on Metro's leaders to defund law enforcement and reinvest that money in public safety programs that don't require an armed police presence. Some cited a recent report that showed Black riders are disporportionately stopped and cited by police officers and Sheriff's deputies.

The Metro board also approved an amendment requesting upwards of $40 million in next year's budget to fund programs like unarmed transit ambassadors and improved homeless outreach teams. The agency recently created a committee to recommend initiatives like those.

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Metro leaders say they want to move faster to implement alternatives to armed policing on the system, but also said they've been forced to give more money to law enforcement agencies this year to address "out of control" contract spending.

For more on yesterday's vote and the public response, read my full story here: