So the King County Transit Police are being rebranded with a new color scheme.  I don’t recall ever seeing one of these cars, but it may be because there wasn’t a unique color scheme, so bravo.

However, I’m only being slightly facetious when I wonder why the Transit Police have cars at all.  If Transit Police generally used the bus to get around, it would slow down response times but also would certainly boost the sense of security and incidence of low-level problems across the system.  That’s the kind of thing that makes many people afraid to ride the 7 at night.

I live in the Rainier Valley, so I’ve ridden my share of sketchy bus routes.  If I’ve ever shared a bus with transit cops, I didn’t notice.

16 Replies to “Transit Police Cars”

  1. The reason that the MTP have cars is that they need to be able to quickly respond to incidents on buses which could be located almost anywhere in the county. I have actually seen some MTP cars along Rainier from time to time. Once I even saw and MTP officer (in uniform) on the #7, but that was years ago. I’ve heard that they occasionally (rarely?) ride Metro undercover. However, they seem to mostly be a reactive agency than a proactive one.

    1. Sure, that’s what it’s for.

      But are there really that many incidents going on? What else are they doing in between incidents? It’d be great if there were actual patrolling.

    2. I’ve heard that there are only 28 of them – although that was a few years ago – so I think they have to be responders.

  2. They have a few of them around every day at Garfield High School after school. They previously just had cars that looked like a normal sheriff car, but said “transit police” in small letters.

  3. I don’t like the way they allocate transit police resources. The great majority of their time is spent riding in patrol cars, following buses on high incident bus routes, waiting for something to happen; waiting to be called. They rarely ride undercover on the buses. I wish they’d do more of that. As it is right now, the bad guys who ride the buses know that they have a better chance at winning the lottery than encountering an undercover transit police officer on the bus.

    1. Sam, mathematically, you’re suggesting they end up with a lower chance of finding a bad guy. In a car, they can go to the next bus before or after, and board as necessary. On a bus, they can’t respond to anywhere near as many incidents.

  4. Okay – here they are again….

    1) I like the retro look of the new cars.

    2) While it is not riding the bus, I’ve seen them along 3rd Ave (at Pine) keeping an eye on things. They come on the bus, do a quick scan and ask the driver if everything is okay.

    3) The cars should be able to access the on-board camera system (we really need more of those). I’ve seen video from the LA sheriff’s office where a kid is marking up the bus and BOOOM – he’s being carted off the bus in handcuffs. They watched the kid through the video camera.

  5. I recall one evening around 10:40 sitting directly behind the driver on either the NB 5 or 358, and a cop boarded undercover at 7th & Blanchard and sat directly across from me. The only way I knew he was a cop was instead of paying a fare or flashing/swiping his pass, he flashed a badge. Other than that, never have I seen one aboard a bus.

  6. You should see one of their cars race through the bus tunnel. Zoom.

    (And don’t get me started on the practice of completely shutting down the tunnel for 10+ minutes if a car mistakenly goes into the CPS area. Riders are rarely told anything. How long would you sit in a bus that’s parked between two tunnel stations?)

    1. That brings up a great point. The number one improvement the bus tunnel could make is a simple sign telling you when the next bus will arrive (and its number). Any chance this will come with Link?

  7. Matt, what I’d actually prefer is a graphic representation of the tunnel showing the position of all the buses in the tunnel. I think would just look cool, especially if it allows me to see the 10+ buses stuck a station or two away.

  8. stinky, I’m not sure, but I think you could do that with Bus View, if you put only tunnel route buses into “Buses to display on map,” then clicked apply. Then that would filter out all other non-tunnel buses in the downtown core, and show only the buses in the tunnel.

  9. I know this is old, but, Sound Transit has Security that rides the buses/trains/etc. and they are stationed at the bus/train stations. Transit Police and Security work closely together to take care of the issues that come up on the busses. And that’s a great thing, because County (Not assigned to Transit) and municiple departments are less likely to be able to respond in a timely manner. These busses go anywhere and everywhere in the county, and Sound Trasit goes accross multiple counties. Having Transit Police only ride the busses (Undercover or otherwise)would seriously be a waste of time and money. And try and ask any Cop how he’d react if his job were reduced to basically being a Security Guard. I’m sure he/she would reply in the negative.

    I like the new paint on Transit Police vehicles. It shows that they are specifically for Transit. Their uniforms are different than other Sheriff uniforms too. And as far as you guys saying that there’s no undercover Police Officers on the busses, how do you know? Is there an undercover uniform they wear? Are there certain criteria that has to be met that identifies an Undercover Officer to the public? Don’t be rediculous.

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