Under the counsel of the MTS Public Security Committee, MTS recently made some significant improvements to its security department. In addition to the policy changes below, MTS hired a team of experts from the American Public Transportation Association to conduct a peer review of its security practices, to help ensure its passenger experience is more equitable for riders.
In summer 2020, the security department updated its use of force policy, and all security members (in-house and contracted) began training on the new program. Some of the changes include:
- Requiring de-escalation tactics in an effort to achieve the most peaceful outcome for both riders and security personnel
- Banning carotid restraints, including knee pressure on the head, neck and throat
- A duty to intervene if witnessing excessive force being used
- Stricter reporting standards
- And more
Additionally, in September 2020, MTS launched a fare evasion diversion program to decriminalize its fare ticketing process. Under the one-year pilot program, riders caught riding without a fare will have new, easier alternatives to clearing their ticket without facing more expensive court fees. The pilot program will also allow MTS to evaluate how the change in enforcement impacts fare revenue, which is a major component of the agency’s operating budget. Riders ticketed for riding without a fare on or after September 1 can clear their ticket by:
- Submitting an appeal within 15 days if the rider can demonstrate they were cited incorrectly (i.e. forgot Compass Card at home, couldn’t purchase a fare due to broken machine)
- Pay a $25 fine to MTS within 120 days
- Complete three hours of community service within 120 days
The MTS Public Security Committee meets at least every other month and continues to look at ways to improve how its security procedures and protocols.
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