Valley Metro ramps up security on Phoenix-area light rail
PHOENIX — Off-duty Phoenix police officers will start patrolling Valley Metro light rail trains in the city of Phoenix, paying particular attention to the 19th Avenue Corridor.
Riders’ concerns about safety, especially along the corridor, have been shared by Valley Metro, which led to a pilot program to increase security.
“They did run a pilot [program between December and February], and that’s something Phoenix PD worked on with the Phoenix transit enforcement unit,” Valley Metro Communications Director Susan Tierney said. She believes the pilot program resulted in nearly 150 arrests just in Phoenix.
Tierney said the addition of the four off-duty officers are part of 16 new officers being brought aboard Valley Metro to patrol light rail trains system wide. As ridership on the light rail line has broken through 53,000 boardings-a-day, the system is taking steps to ensure passenger safety is paramount.
“Having four more officers added, to be dedicated to the Phoenix portion of the light rail system [is something] we want to replicate that in the other cities during peak hours in Tempe and Mesa as well,” Tierney said.
The beefed-up security presence comes as Phoenix and the region readies to host the Final Four college basketball games, which will bring attention and tourism to the area. Valley Metro is increasing the physical presence of its security teams to give riders the added comfort of knowing their trip will be without incident.
“We do have security cameras, we have fare inspectors that are security officers that we’ve increased and plan on increasing more—16 additional officers we hope are beginning this summer.”