Agency in charge of MetroLink accused of creating own police dep -

Agency in charge of MetroLink accused of creating own police department

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MetroLink (Credit: KMOV) MetroLink (Credit: KMOV)

MetroLink security officers can’t act like police officers, authorities say.

The statement comes after several high-profile incidents on MetroLink platforms in recent months.

St. Louis County Police think Bi-State officers are dressed to resemble their own officers, but their concerns go beyond the uniforms.

Watch: Video surfaces of more violence on a MetroLink platform

Sgt. Shawn McGuire with St. Louis County Police said county officers have observed MetroLink security officers act as police during April. County officers then reported it to St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

“We believe some of their security officers are operating without a license and we also believe they are deputizing them, making them policemen. Legally, they are not allowed to do that,” said McGuire.

In a letter to Bi-State CEO John Nations, McCulloch said it has come to his attention that Bi-State has attempted to create its own police department, something it has no authorities to do. McCulloch said if Bi-State doesn’t stop, that any Bi-State employee caught impersonating a law enforcement officer will do so at his or her own peril.

Read: Man struck by stray bullet at MetroLink station dies

The Missouri Director of Public Safety sent Nations a similar letter.

In a letter to McCulloch, Nations said Bi-State is not trying to create a police department and has ordered new uniforms so there no confusion. He added Bi-State is doing everything it can to make sure MetroLink is safe.

Metro released the following statement Wednesday.

Our priority is arriving at a strong, viable, long term solution to significantly improve public safety on the region’s transit system.  The involved parties must continue to work together to keep the transit riding public safe. We will continue to work toward that end and will provide public comment when the parties involved have agreed on the actions we will take to best address this important issue. 

St. Louis County Steve Stenger said a plan to joint-task force model that would involve St. Louis City, County and St. Clair County is in the works.

"Which law enforcement officers, true law enforcement officers are able to affect arrests in those jurisdictions and can take part in law enforcement activities legally," said Stenger.

Nations says he agrees that regional cooperation is needed.

Under the plan, Stenger said the number of MetroLink security guards would be reduced and the number of police officers would increase.

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