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Rail News: Security

Gov. Hochul to deploy National Guard, state police to help protect NYC subway riders

"I am sending a message to all New Yorkers: I will not stop working to keep you safe and restore your peace of mind whenever you walk through those turnstiles," New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said yesterday.
Photo – MTA/Flickr


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul yesterday announced the National Guard and state police will be deployed as part of a five-point plan to beef up security on the MTA New York City Transit subway system.

At a press conference held yesterday, Hochul said she would deploy 1,000 members of the National Guard and state police to the transit system to assist the New York Police Department with bag checks as part of a larger plan to help keep subway riders safe amid a series of violent crimes.

The five-point plan calls for bag checks; new legislation that would permit transit bans for individuals that assault other passengers; adding new cameras to protect conductor cabins; increasing coordination between district attorneys and law enforcement; and increasing the number of Subway Co-Response Outreach (SCOUT) teams throughout the system. The SCOUT teams will operate in addition to the existing Safe Options Support teams, according to an MTA press release.

Since January, MTA has deployed a SCOUT team pilot program in partnership with New York City, in addition to employing SOS teams across the subway system. SCOUT teams can address the most severe mental health crisis within the subway system and assist riders in gaining access to mental health treatment and supportive housing.

Hochul is directing $20 million to rapidly scale the pilot and bring the total number of SCOUT teams to 10 by the end of 2025.

"My five-point plan will rid our subways of violent offenders and protect all commuters and transit workers," Hochul said. "I am sending a message to all New Yorkers: I will not stop working to keep you safe and restore your peace of mind whenever you walk through those turnstiles."

The governor also announced a new program bill that will allow judges to ban people convicted of an assault within the system from using MTA services as part of sentencing. Now there's a provision that allows a transit ban as a term of sentencing for individuals who assault transit workers; under Hochul’s plan, the same provision would be extended to include assaults of anyone within the system.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/7/2024