The three elected government leaders whose jurisdictions fund Bi-State Development have signed a memo of understanding (MOU) codifying and outlining in detail the plan to improve MetroLink security that they have developed in cooperation with law enforcement and Bi-State. The MOU--signed by St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson--has now been forwarded to Bi-State Development President and CEO John Nations for his signature.
The three leaders and their top law enforcement personnel met with Nations and three members of the Bi-State Board in recent weeks to discuss the steps to be taken to improve passenger safety on MetroLink. The plan developed focuses on a unified law enforcement command with greater officer presence and controlled access for the system. The MOU spells out the details of the plan and outlines the intentions and expectations, including specific responsibilities of each of the parties.
The plan creates a joint law enforcement task force with members from all three law enforcement agencies. The MOU spells out that specific staffing goals will be established by St. Clair County, St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis that will include an evaluation of roles, delineation of authority and establishment of oversight and accountability structures. The MOU specifies that Bi-State will not decrease its level of publicly funded security services, rail-related safety personnel or contract safety personnel without the urging of the task force. It also specifies that Bi-State will not directly employ law enforcement officers and will only employ security officers.
The MOU states that the task force will be headquartered at a dedicated facility at 5977 Delmar Boulevard near the Delmar Loop MetroLink stop at Washington University. It also specifies that there will be improvement to citizen reporting capabilities and police radio communications. All MetroLink law enforcement personnel will be part of a unified police radio communication system that can receive 911 calls which will be used to dispatch law enforcement personnel. The MOU endorses 911 texting and working to bring the necessary technology to the MetroLink system.
The MOU also calls for the creation of a Transit Advisory Working Group consisting of prosecutors from St. Louis County, St. Louis and St. Clair County, law enforcement leaders from those three jurisdictions, representatives of Amalgamated Transit Union Local Number 788 and of Citizens for Modern Transit.
The MOU outlines a variety of other specifics of the plan.