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Public-conduct policing: WMATA creates 'Rail Anti-Crime Target Squad'

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's "Rail Anti-Crime Target Squad" is on the Metrorail beat.

Patrolling since mid-December, the officers' main focus is increased enforcement of "ordinances that are important to improving the quality of life of our average Metrorail customer," said Metro Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson in a prepared statement. "The new initiative also allows us to increase our visibility, which is what our customers want to see."

The squad plans to step up enforcement of littering, smoking, eating and drinking violations inside Metrorail stations. Officers, who are targeting fare evaders and pickpockets, are issuing citations for most violations, which result in fines ranging from $10 (littering) to $50 (fare evasion).

"We hope that increased enforcement of these public-conduct ordinances will lead to a cleaner and safer transit system," Hanson said, adding that the agency also has asked Metrorail riders to report suspicious behavior. "Our customers are additional eyes and ears for us in this new age of increased security."

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More News from 1/3/2003