TARC to hire armed, off-duty LMPD officers for bus security - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

TARC to hire armed, off-duty LMPD officers for bus security

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - TARC will soon hire off-duty Metro Police officers to ride city buses and make arrests if necessary.

The officers will be uniformed, armed and will have arrest powers, TARC spokesman Jon Reiter said. It's in response to the deadly stabbing on board a bus March 16.

"We are stepping up security, no doubt about it," Reiter said. "We are asking LMPD for their help in curbing incidents on our buses."

Reiter declined to say which bus routes TARC planned to target with the off-duty officers. He also did not say how many officers the agency intended to hire.

Jonathan Dooley, who represents TARC bus drivers as president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1447, said he welcomed the off-duty officers.

"Of course, we'd be supportive," Dooley said. "We're looking for a safe system -- not one (bus) line or two lines."

TARC has improved security aboard the buses since a deadly stabbing on the Number 23 bus on March 16, Dooley said.

Four Metro Council members rode a TARC bus along Dixie Highway late Thursday night, and many riders asked to have police officers on buses.

"We're hearing some say they feel safe on TARC buses and we hear others who would like to see either uniformed or undercover officers on the bus," said Councilman David Tandy, a Democrat who represents downtown.

Tandy, Attica Scott, David James and Barbara Shanklin rode the Number 18 route. The same group rode a Broadway bus last week in the afternoon, and riders said they should come back at night.

There were no incidents in the 90 minutes the council members were aboard.

The council is committed to spending extra money, if need be, to address TARC safety concerns, Shanklin said.

"We're hoping the city does everything it can to make sure the constituents, the community, is safe," she said.

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