PORTLAND, Ore. - TriMet has released new plans to beef up transit security in the wake of Friday's stabbings.
The transit authority will temporarily add 10 to 15 additional contract security officers right away.
It also plans to speed up the permanent hires of transit police that were included in the fiscal year 2018 newly adopted budget.
General Manager Neil McFarlane has called for the expedited hiring of 15 community peace officers. Those hires had been planned for July at the earliest. Now, a TriMet spokesperson said, the jobs may be posted in a matter of days.
The 10 to 15 contract officers will not be armed. While TriMet transit police are armed, a spokesperson says the 15 new permanent officers might not be armed, and that a decision will be made soon.
“Our goal is to have a much more visible presence to comfort our riders, let them know we are with them, that we are watching, and being very diligent about public safety,” said McFarlane.
“Indeed we’ve actually, over the last year, upped the training for all our front line staff, including operators adding in a component of de-escalation, so that hopefully dealing with troubled individual, is people approach that with a higher skill level,” he said. He says, overall, crime in the system is dropping, but sporadic events are the scariest.
“That said, we know we need to continue to improve that training, we need to continue to improve our patrolling, and all of our police tactics, to respond to these horrific threats that we occasionally see," he said.
Currently TriMet has 61 Transit Police officers and 15 contracted security guards, along with 75 supervisors.
The agency has also offered police and security personnel overtime to increase the security presence on the system. These extra patrols will extend through at least the end of Rose Festival.
Finally, TriMet said it will will deploy Field Operations Supervisors and On-Street Customer Service staff to spend more time riding on the system.