MTA Releases MOU with SFPD

a cop on Muni _1.jpgA rare sighting of an SFPD officer on Muni. Flickr photo: moppet65535

More than a month after it was promised, the MTA has released a memorandum of understanding (PDF) with the San Francisco Police Department, an agreement that will give the transit agency and its chief Nat Ford control over SFPD officers who are supposed to be patrolling Muni.

For the first time, the MTA will deploy officers assigned to the Traffic Company, and name a Security and Enforcement Director, a position that will most likely be taken by Tony Parra, the SFPD Deputy Chief, who already holds a similar title:

The Traffic Company will provide law enforcement services to support the
SFMTA’s public safety and policing priorities.  These services are
intended to supplement existing general law enforcement services already provided
by the SFPD to ensure public safety.  During the term of the MOU, the SFPD
will assign one captain, four lieutenants, 12 sergeants and 85 police officers
to the Traffic Division.  The SFMTA will pay the salary and benefits of
these police officers through interdepartmental work orders.

The SFPD has been under fire for raiding Muni’s budget, charging the agency more than $83 million in work orders, including services not related to Muni. BOS Prez David Chiu said it was "befuddling" the two agencies never had any kind of written agreement — providing no accountability of the process — but announced at a May 12th supervisors meeting that the agencies would produce an MOU "within 24 hours."

The MOU also calls for SFPD officers to cease providing protection for city-owned garages — which amounted to a $300,000 work order — but allows them to continue some parking enforcement at night, mostly blocked driveways.

The MOU will be considered at Tuesday’s MTA Board meeting.

  • This likely means that those same officers can be directed by the MTA to patrol bike lanes for double parking enforcement. The best way to make this happen would be to pass a resolution through the Supervisors urging the MTA directors to direct the agency to have the cops patrol the bike lanes. This is pretty exciting because you could send police out specifically to deal with violations against ped/bike right-of-way/space.

    Thanks for reporting this story.

    Greg

  • Seven

    Last week, for the first time in my life, I saw a cop on a Muni bus! It was an outbound 71L bus in the Outer Sunset.

    Also last week, for only the second time in my life, I saw Muni fare inspectors in the Outer Sunset (N-Judah). They actually caught a few people, because no one expects fare inspectors in the Outer Sunset.

  • I also had my first-in-five-years sighting a SFPD on a muni bus last week. Looks like this is for real, at least for the time being.

  • AW

    GGGGG – The parking control officers, not police officers, handle the double parking enforcement.

    That said, if they do more double parking enforcement to keep bike lanes clear, I think it’s equally fair to do more bicycle red light and STOP sign running – especially at 12th/Market.

  • mcas

    AW: I believe you are incorrect- by blocking a travel lane (a bike lane)– it is still a moving violation and the responsibility of the police officers. It’s a moving violation to block a ROW.

    As for enforcing red light/stop sign running by cyclists, just because they intend to enforce double-parkers doesn’t really hold water. That would be like saying ‘if the cops want to start arresting more armed robbers, they should be required to check for un-licensed concealed weapons in the general population, too.’ …it’s a straw-man argument.

    Enforcing one major safety issue that has resulted in serious injury and death should not have to ‘justified’ by a putative enforcement against the same users it seeks to protect.

  • if i were directing the police to ticket bike lane double parkers i would have them concentrate on repeat offenders, particularly business that use the bike lane for double parking everyday, such as the hotel at 8th and market.

  • marcos

    The SFPD or DPT could be enforcing these laws right now, under existing budgetary arrangements, but they are not.

    This is another of those cases where the departments are playing nice for the Board of Supervisors during budget time, but once the funds are appropriated, it will be back to business as usual.

    Delagnes of the POA is not going to stand for civilians in the MTA ordering HIS officers around.

    -marc

  • mcas

    @GGGG: Actually, the hotel at 8th & Market, while dangerous for cyclists isn’t a bike lane, and is actually a Loading Zone– but the curbs are fancy marble, so they won’t paint them white. But, technically, what those folks are doing at 8th along Market isn’t illegal…

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