Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is demanding answers from local law enforcement after a woman was brutally attacked on the Metro A Line last week.
The attack happened last Wednesday as the woman rode the northbound A (blue) Line train, which connects downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach.
While the Metro hasn’t had its own police force since the 1990s, it does have multimillion dollar contracts with the Los Angeles Police Department, Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department, as well as 300 “ambassadors” who are supposed to help travelers navigate the transit system and report safety concerns.
Hahn is demanding to know how something like this could happen, despite millions being paid out to law enforcement agencies who are tasked with keeping L.A. Metro safe.
“Where were they when this woman was beaten up on the Blue Line last week?,” Hahn asked in a news release issued Monday. “With this many layers of security, why didn’t anyone come to this woman’s aid?”
Hahn is chair of the County Board of Supervisors and represents the Fourth District, which includes the city of Long Beach, as well as many of the Gateway Cities in southeast L.A. County.
She says it’s not the first time there has been an attack on L.A. Metro trains in recent months, and she plans to ask for a “full accounting” of where the Metro ambassadors, security guards and Long Beach police officers assigned to the Metro were at the time of the attack.
“Enough is enough. Our trains need to be safe for our residents,” Hahn said.
Crime has been rising steadily on the Metro since before the COVID-19 pandemic, when ridership was significantly higher and this is not the first time that accountability of contracted law enforcement officers has been called into question.
A 2022 audit by the Office of the Inspector General found that the majority of Los Angeles law enforcement officers did most of their patrolling from their vehicles and rarely, if ever, rode on trains and buses. It also revealed that more than half of the calls for service in the Metro were being answered by officers not even assigned to train duty.
Despite the criticism and questions about the efficacy of the law enforcement contracts, the L.A. Metro Board, including Hahn, voted 11-1 to renew its existing contracts with the same agencies back in March. The contracts were set to expire at the end of June. County Supervisor Lindsey Horvath was the only “no” vote.
However, the Board did approve a plan for Metro to explore establishing its own police force. A report detailing the feasibility of starting a Metro law enforcement agency could be presented in the coming weeks.
In addition to demanding answers from law enforcement agencies, Hahn plans to also ask Metro to explain the existing protocol regarding what happens if a rider needs to stop a train and whether or not that protocol was followed in this recent attack.
The next scheduled L.A. Metro Board meeting is this Thursday.