Transit Police Provide Safety on OC Bus
The original six-member TPS team has grown to 33 employees and three canine deputies. Today, TPS programs include Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPR) Operations, Anti-Terror Anti-Crime (ATAC) Operations, Zero Tolerance Operations, and Explosives Detection Canine Operations, as well as programs associated with special events.
Uniformed deputies ride OCTA buses to maintain a visual presence that helps deter crime and disorderly behavior. The officers also conduct daily foot patrols at designated OCTA bus bases and transportation centers and check in with employees at these facilities, to ensure their security and build and maintain good working relationships. Team members also respond to all calls requiring law enforcement response on an OCTA bus.
Another TPS team maintains security by deterring, detecting, and disrupting terrorism onboard OCTA transit vehicles and at OCTA facilities. This team employs a three-pronged approach. Uniformed officers accompanied by explosives detection dogs have access to FBI-certified bomb technicians if they find a suspicious object. Covert law enforcement officers conduct counter-terrorism surveillance activities, and another team, consisting of a uniformed deputy and uniformed supervisor, interact with the pubic to build positive relationships with the public.
In addition, a specially trained team works with unhoused and/or mentally ill people on OCTA buses and at OCTA facilities. The team works closely with OCTA-served communities to improve the quality of life by mitigating criminal activity and disorder and discouraging repeat offenders. The team employs a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to finding solutions for the increasing homelessness issues within OCTA jurisdictions through outreach, enforcement, and security functions, and through collaborative relationships with surrounding police agencies, Orange County Healthcare and crisis intervention outreach organizations.
The most popular members of the TPS team are the bomb-sniffing dogs who aid the TPS in protecting transit passengers. Foose, the first K-9 member and his handler, joined the team in 2009, and since that time these members have been patrolling throughout Orange County, inspecting transit centers and Metrolink stations and responding to suspicious packages and activity.
Though Orange County transit is exceptionally safe, the dogs help thwart potential threats through their highly visible presence and their ability to sniff out potential danger.