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Metro is hiring private security guards to pick up certain tasks — like guarding transfers of money — so that an additional 17 transit cops can be freed up to patrol railcars, platforms, and buses.
The announcement by Metro Transit police chief Ron Pavlik comes a day after a 24-year-old man was shot by two teens who tried to rob him on a train headed for Anacostia station. The man survived.
"We have to take every step to reassure our riders and employees that it is a safe place," Pavlik said.
In recent weeks, there have been a number of assaults, many involving teenagers. But arrests have been made in almost all the cases because they were caught on surveillance video. That's a fact Metro board member Harriet Tregoning says needs to be stressed.
"From a deterrence perspective, is there something we can be doing along that line to maybe put up some public service announcements, that If you are thinking about committing a crime in our system, your chances of getting caught are extremely high so don't do it," she said.
Metro has about 450 police officers, but Pavlik declined to say how many are patrolling at any one time.
The increase in patrols will include "power hour" deployments, "surging the number of officers on duty at selected times by up to 100 percent," Metro said in a news release. The surge will be created by overlapping day shifts and evening shifts.
The force will also add additional officers as "eyes and ears" at certain stations. "Officers who are unable to perform full duty, but are cleared to work in limited duty status will be assigned to stations based on crime trends," the news release said.