The Stranger reports that Metro won’t renew its contract with Olympic Security, after a brutal beating of a teenaged girl occurred right in front of guards in the downtown transit tunnel. That beating became national news; Metro and the city have since increased the police presence in and around the tunnel.

It was Olympic Security policy to not intervene and instead “observe & report” altercations. Olympic Security’s president city sent a letter to county and city officials putting blame on Metro staff for that strict policy, saying that the transit agency had told Olympic to not make “physical contact” with others. Metro notes that the prior incidents that led to a clarification of the “observe & report” rules were not assaults, but instances like a skateboarder rummaging through the trash which didn’t necessitate physical contact to maintain safety. Publicola has the full report.

20 Replies to “Metro Won’t Renew Olympic Contract”

  1. Sounds like a case of Right hand expects Left hand to perform, while not being fully clear about what Left hand is supposed to do, and tying Left hand’s fingers together.

    But at the same time, if Metro doesnt want to renew a contract and decides to let it expire, I feel that that is amicable on Metro’s part. At least they are giving time for the Employees of Olympic to find other assignments or find other lines of work.

  2. As much as I feel like the security guards should have intervened I completely agree with Olympic’s standpoint. The blame is entirely Metro’s (and SPD for refusing to escort the girl to the tunnel) for having a contract that states the guards are to observe and report. Metro’s argument that O&R should have only applied to minor crimes and not serious assaults is completely ludicrous and is merely an attempt to save face. Someone should have thought of the consequences of having an O&R security policy well before the assault occurred. Fail Metro, fail!

  3. the stranger reports? metro’s been saying this in council meetings since at least monday–this isn’t news.

    1. Much of the post is about the Publicola story from yesterday afternoon, which most would consider newsworthy.

  4. A friend and I were discussing the incident last week, after it made national news. The interesting thing that came up in the discussion is how the liability works out in a case like that.

    There are all sorts of ways that things can go wrong, and our society is very litigious already. If a security guard is injured on the job, will the same effort be put into supporting that guard as would be if a police officer? How about if someone brings a suit against the guard for using too much force?

    I don’t know what kind of support is in place for Police officers already, but I do know that they are under quite a bit of scrutiny already.


  5. Why exactly hasn’t SPD been patrolling the tunnel anyway? Why hire private security? Isn’t the bus tunnel public property and therefor the responsibility of SPD to keep people inside of it safe?

    1. Side issue: about 1 out of 3 times I take the LINK a few stops in the bus tunnels to get to King Street, it’s quite noisome in there. Not sure if its due to something someone “left” on the seat, or actual passengers, but it’s quite rank.

      Are there any laws that could get them to put the smellies off the train?

      1. Hmm, haven’t noticed any odd smells inside the Link trains myself. On the other hand some of Metro’s coaches are a bit funky even when empty.

      1. My question is, why do they have to be responsible for those costs anyway? This is public property. Those platforms are like sidewalks. NYC subway has NYPD cops patrolling the stations, same story just about everywhere. Metro shouldn’t have to pay anyone to patrol the tunnel.

      2. Does the NYC subway leave the city and thus the NYPD jurisdiction? Metro leaves Seattle and Sound Transit even leaves King County. SPD doesn’t have jurisdiction over King County and the King County Sheriff doesn’t have jurisdiction over Tacoma.

        You need some kind of law enforcement that has jurisdiction across the entire span of the system. State Patrol? Probably out of their charter and way out of their scope (though aren’t they the ones who would arrest you on a state ferry?).

        Even if you took out jurisdiction issues, SPD wont do it because then the city would be paying to protect a public area that gets the majority of its people from out of city limits. It would be like asking SPD to protect the Fauntleroy side of the vashon ferry dock (do they?).

        So why rent-a-cops? Money and politics. Probably way cheaper and way less red tape to hire them then deal with competing government agencies.

        My theory anyway.

      3. I’m talking about security in the metro tunnel. There are like five stations and SPD is the highest paid police force in the country. I think they could handle it…

      4. In NYC the MTA has its own police force that patrols the subways. While the NYPD may patrol stations and trains the MTA has primary jurisdiction.

        In Seattle King County Metro and Sound Transit both have their own transit police who are actually King County Sheriff’s deputies. The tunnel happens to be owned by King County Metro which brings up some jurisdictional issues, especially since Metro wants a bit more security than SPD would provide as part of their usual patrols.

        There is also a bit of a pissing match between SPD and the Sheriff’s department. The Sheriff’s Department doesn’t want SPD being paid to provide extra security in the tunnel as they want the money for that. Same thing with off duty officers, especially since there are far fewer opportunities for Sheriff’s deputies to work overtime or as off-duty officers.

  6. A purely symbolic move by the county meant distance themselves from the blame, and point the finger at Olympic.

    Not fooled.

  7. I am a retired law enforcement officer and public safety official.The only thing I can say is “WHAT HAS GONE WITH OUR WHOLE COUNTRY”.What has happened to common sense?

    [deleted, off-topic]

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