D.C. and Metro police are partnering together to increase patrols throughout the city’s transit system after a deadly shooting occurred at the Potomac Avenue Metro Station on February 1.
The tragic shooting claimed the life of a mechanic and injured three others.
Metro D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee, Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Anzallo, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Metro general manager and CEO Randy Clarke met a week after the shooting on February 8 to discuss the new partnership designed to “enhance public safety and security on the transit system.”
“In recent months, MTPD has increased patrols [by] 30% at the busiest times. This collaborative approach will allow us to protect the community better and increase our visibility on trains and buses, and we look forward to working alongside MPD and other local law enforcement partners,” Anzallo said of the partnership.
According to the MPD, the department will increase officer presence at five stations during morning and afternoon rush hours.
The locations — Metro Center, Gallery Place, Georgia Avenue, Petworth, Congress Heights and Union Station — were chosen based on crime data.
“Those are the stations that we have the most crime, complaints, disorder and problems, so that’s why we chose those stations,” Anzallo said.
Randy Clarke said that having uniformed D.C. police patrolling the subway will free up MTPD officers to combat crime on buses and trains.
Clarke expects there will be a 60% increase in transit officers on trains, buses and in vehicles to combat crime, which has plagued the capital’s transit system in recent months.
Indeed, Metro crime has been on the rise after pandemic-related lows in 2020 and 2021. In addition, the MTPD is currently understaffed by roughly 80 officers.
Officials said the new initiative would work in a similar fashion to an earlier one on the D.C. Streetcar, where officers signed up for voluntary detail with Metro.
Although the MPD is struggling with an officer shortage too, Contee assured that only officers who sign up for voluntary overtime hours will be used on patrols.
Under the new partnership, each of the five stations will have two officers and a supervisor on patrol from Monday to Friday from 6 to 10 a.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m.
The trial run of the initiative is expected to run through June.
“The toughest challenge is that … it’s a huge system. It traverses … three jurisdictions, Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. And I think sometimes folks lose sight of that. We have a huge bus system, as well. So … the more we can get out on rail cars and platforms, and buses and parking lots … that helps us out with our crime, as far as trying to reduce it,” Anzallo explained.
Metro GM Clarke said that Potomac Avenue — the location of the shooting — will not be included among the five stations in the partnership due to a shortage of officers.
“I want to reiterate, we have a lot of law enforcement at Metro Transit Police that are out all day, all night long. This is supplemental because we just don’t believe right at the moment we have enough officers to cover the whole system,” Clarke said.
Clarke added that Metro Transit Police are on detail at the station from opening to closing.
In addition, the MTPD signed agreements with the Greenbelt Police Department and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to add officers to certain stations such a Greenbelt, Reagan National Airport and Dulles Airport stations.
“We believe Metro is safe. I personally just came up the escalator, I’ll be going back down on the train later today. I’m on the system every day. That does not mean we believe that our work is not done. Every day, we wake up knowing it is our job to do everything humanly possible to make this system safe,” Clarke said.