By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Metropolitan Council approved $1.3 million for new high resolution cameras on light rail trains Wednesday.

Many of the cameras have not been upgraded in 15 years.

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They will allow officers to watch in real time and is expected to improve security.

The new cameras would give a 360-degree view of the train car in 4k video.

Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla says the cloud-based upgrade would allow police to monitor activity in real time, allowing them to respond to crimes more quickly. The video would be monitored from the massive transit control center.

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“Some can discreetly text that they’re uncomfortable if there’s something going on the trains,” Padilla said. “A dispatcher can pull up the camera on that train and see for themselves what’s going on.”

The move comes amid concerns about crimes on the light rail. In December, Metro Transit police were able to identify six teenagers involved in violent attacks on St. Paul’s Green Line.

A Metropolitan Council Transportation Committee report also shows the new cameras would help dispatchers send out real time alerts when trains are running late.

“It helps us not only tell the picture afterwards but be able to be involved in that picture at that moment,” Padilla said.

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Metro Transit hopes to have the cameras installed by the end of 2020.

Kate Raddatz