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WMATA transit police's program addresses minor violations

Seven weeks after beginning a Juvenile Written Warning Program for minor offenses, Metro Transit Police Chief Barry McDevitt March 23 reported the program has provided transit officers greater enforcement flexibility.

Since Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) began the program Feb. 1, 2001, officers have issued 33 written warnings to juveniles, mostly for eating, drinking or other minor offenses while onboard trains or buses, or inside Metrorail stations.

When a juvenile receives a written warning, Transit Police also send a letter to the child’s parents or guardian, and to his or her school principal if the violation occurred immediately before or after school hours. Should a child receive three such warnings within a year, he or she will be referred to a local court for prosecution.

As of April 16, a new form will be available for Transit Police to issue to either adults or juveniles in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Previously, adults would receive a verbal warning for minor violations. An adult who had already received a warning notice then would be issued either a criminal citation or a summons.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/23/2001