Deputies watch out for jaywalkers

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The $330 million busway is slated to open Oct. 29, with 60-foot articulated buses providing a one-way trip in about 40 minutes. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has prepared by tripling its presence in the Valley, with round-the-clock patrols by motor deputies, cruisers and a horse-mounted posse. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is manning 24-hour surveillance cameras at each of the dozen stops, with bus drivers trained to report any crime. Tickets have been issued to motorists making illegal right turns around busway intersections, and to pedestrians biking or jaywalking along the busway, which officials ask be treated like rail tracks. So far, undercover deputies have arrested 17 taggers for graffiti. “Our motto is a tradition of service – and we’ll do whatever it takes to give transit riders protection,” said Capt. Dan Finkelstein, head of the department’s Transit Services Bureau, which patrols the Metrolink and MTA systems. After homeowners expressed concern about a potential “crime alley” created between 12-foot soundwalls and the residents’ backyards, the MTA installed climb-averse gates along the route. Residents – once worried about crime, vagrants and blight potentially caused by the busway – are taking a wait-and-see approach. “We all feel that the MTA, the Sheriff’s Department and the MTA have a handle on the situation,” said Armineh Chelebian of the Winnetka Neighborhood Council committee on transportation. “Let’s give ’em a chance.” The Sheriff’s Department, which also patrols other bus routes across the Valley, issues up to 200 tickets a week to bus passengers involved mostly in fights or disputes with bus drivers. As part of a nearly $5 million-a-year contract with the MTA to patrol the Orange Line, the Sheriff’s Department has increased its Valley force from 16 to 42 deputies, with six cruisers and two motorbikes each shift. In addition, the department added 12 fare checkers and 10 reservists for weekend mounted patrols. A crisis intervention team, a deputy paired with a nurse, was formed to relocate the homeless. At the Balboa station at Balboa and Victory boulevards, Deputies Sands and Joe Byrd say they’ve gotten a warm welcome, despite the tickets. “It’s really cool,” said Byrd, who once patrolled downtown. “We’re so used to seeing people turn their backs on us. But out in the Valley, people wave at us. “For the most part, they’ve accepted the Orange Line has come through their city.” Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ENCINO – Sheriff’s deputies have cracked their ticket books along the Orange Line, clearing the route of scofflaws before the busway debuts later this month. As they ride along the 14-mile route between Warner Center and North Hollywood, the first motorcycle deputies assigned to the San Fernando Valley are gunning for offenders. “There’s a ticket,” said motor Deputy John “Jay” Sands, spotting a lawbreaking motorist Wednesday as he straddled a BMW police bike at the Balboa Metro Line station in Encino. “When people see L.A. County motors, they pay attention. We’re trying to send the message that this is a dedicated bus system – and violators will be cited.” last_img

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