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Metra launches new onboard police unit

Metra has created a new police unit to patrol trains, the rail service announced Thursday.

The six full-time officers in the unit will ride in both uniform and plain clothes on all of Metra’s 11 lines, according to a statement from the rail service.

The goal is to create a visible law enforcement presence and supplement the efforts of officers and detectives who already patrol the trains, according to the statement. This unit is the first to use full-time resources for onboard patrols.

A 2015 customer survey found that riders ranked personal safety Metra’s sixth-most important service attribute, according to the statement. The service took on a number of safety initiatives last year to make police more efficient and responsive.

Last year, Metra police patrolled 3,500 trains, up from 3,200 in 2014, according to the statement. Those numbers are expected to increase with the new unit.

“Even with these dedicated patrols, our officers can’t be everywhere,” Metra Police Chief Joseph Perez said in the statement. “That’s why we ask our customers to help us by being vigilant when traveling on Metra. If you see something, say something.”

Metra customers should report suspicious or criminal activity to Metra Police at (312) 322-2800.