TriMet increases security presence; highlights fare enforcement measures

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Additional fare enforcers, K-9 unit join security efforts

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, TriMet officials announced measures increasing the security presence on the transit system. “We are always vigilant, looking for how we can improve security and increase the safety on our system for our riders and operators,” said TriMet Safety and Security Executive Harry Saporta.

Security personnel

  • A new K-9 team has just been certified to join the TriMet Transit Police Division, bringing the force to 62 officers including full-time K-9 explosives teams.
  • Six new fare enforcers start work this Sunday, joining two others hired earlier this year, which brings the fare enforcement team to the full time equivalent of 26.

Security equipment

  • By the end of 2012, all TriMet buses on the road will have security cameras. *Note: This timeline was pushed back and, due to bus purchases, all buses will have cameras by mid-2015.
  • TriMet has increased the number of MAX platforms with cameras and increased the overall number of cameras on some platforms. There are now more than 820 cameras on platforms systemwide with all MAX platforms to have cameras by the end of 2013.
  • All MAX trains have security cameras.

Fare enforcement over education

In July 2011, TriMet hired six additional fare enforcers and moved to fare enforcement over education. In the first full year of the focus on enforcement, citations rose 84 percent and warnings dropped 55 percent.

Oct. 2011-July 2012 Oct. 2010-July 2011
Citations 19,818 3,243
Warnings 6,485 14,240
Exclusions 8,531 6,449

“This shift to enforcement has shown some real results. With more people buying fares, it’s bringing in more revenue and it increases the safety and security presence on the system” said TriMet Operations Executive Director Shelly Lomax. “We are now seeing citations dropping as riders have realized it’s better to follow the rules than pay a fine.”

Riders without a valid fare face a $175 citation and possible exclusion from the system on the first offense.

New K-9 team joins TriMet’s Transit Police Division

Some members of the Transit Police Division K-9 unit: (from left to right: Sgt. James Simms and Rexo, Ofc. Chad Stoner and Snoopy, Ofc. John Blair and Mike, Ofc. Michael Kuenzli and Ice)

Officer Chad Stoner and his canine counterpart Snoopy recently completed ten weeks of training and received their certification last week from the Department of Homeland Security.  Officer Stoner is a member of the Portland Police Bureau. Snoopy is a two-year-old black Labrador retriever. TriMet received a grant from the Transportation Security Administration to add this K-9 team.

“The growing ranks of the Transit Police Division reflect TriMet’s continued commitment to providing security for our transit system,” said Transit Police Division Commander Mike Crebs. “Our officers are able to police the TriMet system by focusing on smaller violations before they lead to bigger, more serious incidents.”

Shifts underway in the former Free Rail Zone

The Free Rail Zone in downtown Portland and the Lloyd District ended September 1st. Transit Police officers and TriMet fare enforcement staff have noticed a shift in both fare compliance and the overall atmosphere on MAX trains in the area. Officers report fewer problems with transients and a calmer climate on the trains. While statistics aren’t yet available, officers and fare enforcers have been encouraged by the number of riders with valid fares that they are encountering. Riders in the former free zone were given a grace period in September, but that is now over and those who attempt to ride without a fare will be cited or excluded.