LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Metro Board of Directors voted today to increase funding for its contracts with law enforcement agencies, while approving a motion aimed at reimagining public safety through recommendations from the Public Safety Advisory Committee.
The first approved motion added $75.2 million to its current contracts with law enforcement agencies -- the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Long Beach and Los Angeles police departments -- and extended the contracts an additional six months, through Dec. 2022, with the option to extend an additional six months after that.
According to the motion, during the currently authorized up-to-18 months that the contracts are extended, the Public Safety Advisory Committee would have time to bring forward alternatives to public safety contracts to staff public safety alternative positions, such as transit ambassadors.
That motion passed with nine yes votes, but Councilman Mike Bonin and Supervisor Holly Mitchell abstained.
The board also approved a motion to commit $40 million in the fiscal 2023 budget, which begins in July 2022, for public safety alternatives, direct Metro to develop a strategy that identifies certain stations for reimagined public safety pilot programs, and consult with the PSAC on the design, implementation and evaluation of the pilots.
The board previously voted in March 2021 to commit $40 million to public safety alternatives in the 2022 fiscal year, which runs through June 30, 2022. Metro's Judy Gerhardt told the board on Thursday that none of the $40 million allocation has been spent yet and staff is working on the details with PSAC.
That motion passed with 10 yes votes, but Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian abstained.
That $40 million in the current fiscal year was designated for efforts such as transit ambassadors, elevator attendants and a flexible dispatch system to enable a response by homeless outreach workers, mental health specialists and unarmed security ambassadors. Under the approved motion, Metro would report to the board in February on the status of initiatives funded by that $40 million.
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