What to Know
- The MTA board on Wednesday approved the hiring of 500 additional transit officers
- At least seven people protesting additional cops were kicked out of the board meeting and several others got disorderly conduct summons
- There are currently 783 MTA officers and the new officers will help fill vacant roles and retirements
The board of Metropolitan Transportation Authority was met with several protestors on Wednesday as it voted to spend $250 million of its budget on 500 new transit officers.
At least seven people protesting additional cops in the subway were kicked out and several others got disorderly conduct summons after they stood up and interrupted the MTA board meeting. Critics say that more officers will only unfairly target black and low-income people and call for the funds to go towards improving services.
Sarah Walker was among many speakers who took to the podium and questioned whether more police officers will address all the issues that the MTA is facing.
"Does it help the trains run on time? Does it fix the infrastructure? Does it clean the cars? Does it boost ridership? Does it improve accessibility for disabled folks? Does it make the subway affordable for low income people? Because these are just some of the real problems that the MTA could be addressing with the $250 million," Walker addressed the board.
"The reality is that for people of color, poor people and homeless people, more cops mean heightened danger using the subway," she continued after noting several incidents of policing that were captured on camera this year.
In October, several police officers pointed their guns at a suspected fare evader through the window of a subway car before storming inside. In the same week, a black teenager was seen on a viral video being punched by an NYPD officer in a subway brawl.
MTA chairman Pat Foye argues that more police officers are needed in the subway due to the rise in hate crimes, robberies, harassment and assaults on employees.
"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 Wednesday. He says the new hires will work under the MTA, not the NYPD.
There are currently 783 MTA officers and the new officers will help fill vacant roles and retirements, of which there are around 200, according to Foye.
New officers will also patrol Metro North and LIRR in addition to the city subways.