The MTA on Wednesday voted to spend $250 million of its budget on 500 new transit officers.
MTA chairman and CEO Pat Foye said more law enforcement is needed in the subway due to a spike in robberies, hate crimes, harassment, and assault on employees, NBC reports.
“We believe that’s going to help us provide a safe and secure environment for our customers and our employees and that’s our focus,” Foye said.
The new police officers will be working under the MTA, not the NYPD. However, both organizations will continueu to work closely together.
NBC reports that there are currently 783 MTA officers, and the additional officers will help fill vacant roles. They will also be filling positions that became open due to 200 recent retirements.
The new cops will reportedly patrol LIRR and Metro-North.
ABC reports that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez penned a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo asking him to reroute the money to the bus and subway service. It was reported that Foye sent a response stating that, “We will not engage in politics when it comes to public safety.”
Foye continued stating that, “New Yorkers deserve to have reliable service and feel secure on our system. These priorities are one and the same. We are seeing vast improvements in subway on-time performance, but hate crimes have risen more than 50 percent, robbery is up 11.5 percent, aggravated harassment is up 167 percent, and the TWU has reported an increase in assaults on workers of 39 percent. Adding additional uniformed police officers across the MTA will help ensure safety and quality of life for our eight million daily customers.”
It is part of the four-year plan that aims to avoid budget-driven service cuts.