Metro Transit staff directed to develop specific action plan by end of June
A work group of Metropolitan Council members appointed to prioritize issues related to transit safety and security presented their recommendations to the full Met Council on March 2. The group recommended specific guidance to improve the transit experience, transit safety, partnering with community, and providing more regular information and data about conditions on the system and police actions.
The Metro Transit Police Work Group report directs Metro Transit to engage stakeholders and present a workplan to meet these outcomes to the Met Council by the end of June.
The recommendations echo priorities cited by community members who participated in public engagement on the topic in spring and summer 2021, as well as Metro Transit police and employee feedback. The recommendations are built around three areas of work:
- Provide a quality transit experience for all, using an anti-racist lens, equity lens, and an inclusive approach to transit safety, security, and policing
- Address systemic issues by fostering community relationships and partnerships
- Demonstrate responsive leadership and accountability for results
For each of these areas, the work group identified issues, high-level recommendations, and considerations that will serve as a framework for the next phase of this work.
The work group results and recommendations reflected feedback from extensive community involvement facilitated in 2021 by the Citizens League and the Twin Cities Innovation Alliance. That process engaged approximately 1,000 people who highlighted ways to improve conditions on the Twin Cities transit system and ways to address concerns about safety — including ways people of color and youth feel targeted by other riders and transit police. In addition, the work group heard from other community advocates, police personnel, and transit operators and other transit employees about their concerns.
A majority of participants in the community engagement and work group discussions recommended improving various aspects of the rider experience, increasing the official presence when appropriate — without necessarily adding more police officers — and providing more data about trends on transit and the rider experience.
As a result of engaging with diverse constituencies, the work group identified the following values to guide their work:
- Value safety and security on transit
- Ensure dignity, fairness, and justice for all
- Rebuild confidence in quality transit for all
- Value the broad diversity of the community
- Apply an equity lens and anti-racist lens to this work
- Better pair accountability and decision-making
- Include both external and internal stakeholder feedback
- Be responsive to feedback and follow public participation best practices
- Use a systems-level approach
- Ensure positive impacts and reduce negative impacts
- Consider efficient use of resources
- Recommendations should be realistic and doable
The next phase includes Metro Transit and the Metro Transit Police Department developing an action plan that includes goals, action steps, and specific timelines for implementation. That process will include engaging stakeholders who have participated in this process to review and validate the draft action plan.
Following approval by the Met Council in June, Metro Transit will begin full implementation in the second half of 2022, including more ongoing engagement with riders, regional partners, and other community and business stakeholders.