MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You may notice more police on public transit around the Twin Cities.

Metro Transit says they will increase the number of officers on its trains and at its train and bus stations.

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A spokesperson cited calls for service and customer feedback as reasons for the shift.

Police presence was needed Monday on a light rail platform in downtown Minneapolis when two men were reportedly fighting. Video shows an officer pulling his weapon on the two men, one of whom can be seen pushing a gun away.

Metro Transit says one of the men was arrested on a weapons violation, and the other was a victim who was released.

Tricia Swails, a regular on light rail, says she takes the bus more often than she did a year ago, because she says she doesn’t feel safe traveling alone.

“Violence in general,” Swails said. “I’ve seen drug deals go down.”

A Metro Transit officer pulls his service weapon on two men fighting at a Minneapolis LRT platform Monday evening (credit: Metro Transit PD)

Maxwell Williams, another frequent rider, says he’s seen what looks like people on the train preparing to do drugs.

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“If the police are getting more involved, the believe that’s a good thing for sure,” Williams said.

Metro Transit officers are dispatched in part based on more than 1,800 monitored cameras, including on every platform and train car.

“People need to feel like they can get on a train or bus and be safe and secure to get to their destination,” said Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. “There are a number of those concerns, many of which are in the area of perception, but there’s a reality to it as well.”

Light rail ridership continues to increase. The first three months of this year saw nearly half a million more riders than the first three months of 2021.

If you need help, light rail platforms all have emergency phones, live-streamed video to police and emergency intercoms inside the cars.

Below is Metro Transit’s full statement:

In recent weeks, full- and part-time police officers have been asked to spend additional time on light rail, as they are able. This direction reflects our standard practice of sending officers to parts of the transit system where there is the greatest demonstrated need for an official presence, based on calls for service and other feedback from staff and customers. Police continue to actively patrol other parts of the system, including transit centers and buses, and will adapt as needed based on changing conditions.

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MTPD monitors calls for service and staff and customers reports as a standard practice and dispatches resources based on that. These locations can shift. Metro Transit has more than 1,800 cameras in its system, including in every light rail train car, at every station platform and at transit centers and other public facilities. A team of Metro Transit Police Department officers and civilians monitor them for much of the day and evening and dispatch officers to locations when they see issues arising. The cameras, which offer instant replays, are used to give officers enroute to a scene details such as what has just transpired, description of suspects and what direction they fled.

David Schuman