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RTD BOARD VOTES TO EXPAND TRANSIT POLICE TO 330 SWORN OFFICERS OVER NEXT THREE YEARS

 RTD BOARD VOTES TO EXPAND TRANSIT POLICE
 TO 330 SWORN OFFICERS OVER NEXT THREE YEARS
 LOS ANGELES, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The RTD board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to expand the 198-member Transit Police force to 330 sworn officers over the next three years.
 The addition of 132 officers will permit the Transit Police to increase its law enforcement presence on the RTD's approximately 200 bus lines and 20,000-plus bus stops in Los Angeles County. Plans call for more uniformed officers to ride buses as part of the department's High Visibility Task Force, as well as extra emphasis on anti-graffiti, anti- vandalism efforts and deterring pickpockets and other street criminals who prey on transit riders.
 "Board members felt strongly that we should respond to the desire of our patrons and employees for improved security," said Alan F. Pegg, RTD general manager. "This action will help prevent crime by putting more Transit Police officers on the street and aboard RTD buses."
 Pegg said funding needed for the enlarged police force, estimated at $3.2 million to $3.6 million per year, would likely come from Proposition C, which earmarks some $20 million annually for transit security.
 "In view of the district's budget problems, we are very pleased with the board's positive action to increase security for our bus patrons," said Transit Police Chief Sharon Papa. "We will immediately begin screening the 2,000 applications we have received to find the best and brightest candidates for the new positions."
 The first of 44 new officers authorized for fiscal year 1993 could be hired as early as July if funding is provided, Papa said. The board's vote permits the department to employ 44 new officers in FY '94 and the remaining 44 in FY '95. A total of 17 new civilian support staff positions also would be created in the next three years, and Transit Police would add 45 units to its fleet of police cars.
 "With the new officers and vehicles, the Transit Police can expand its coverage in many more ares of the county," Papa said. "We will be able to handle more calls without asking for assistance from local police. The LAPD, the county sheriff and other local police departments are very cooperative in responding to RTD calls when necessary, but the Transit Police are specialists in transit-related crimes."
 Papa said the new officers hired by the department will be a combination of recruits and veterans transferring from other police departments. All Transit Police recruits receive 729 hours of intensive law enforcement training at the Rio Hondo Police Academy.
 -0- 4/13/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Heard or Jim Smart of RTD, 213-972-4400/ CO: Southern California Rapid Transit District ST: California IN: SU: PER


AL-KJ -- LA013 -- 7798 04/13/92 13:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 13, 1992
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