The Coast News Group

Police to provide supplementary service at transit center

OCEANSIDE — To curtail crimes at the Oceanside Transit Center, police will provide supplementary service on a trial basis. The presence of uniformed police officers is believed to have a significant impact in reducing incidents.

City Council gave the OK for police to enter into a 30-day memo of understand with North County Transit District on Aug. 9. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said police service will help address graffiti and enforce the smoking ban at the transit center.

The transit district will pay Oceanside police up to $163,000 a year for service. The fee covers overtime pay for officers, and overhead reimbursement for use of police vehicles, equipment and related services including administration and dispatching.

Trial service is above and beyond what police already handle. Oceanside police will staff two, eight-hour overtime shifts per day, with two officers on each shift.

Police Capt. Fred Armijo said it will be a challenge to staff overtime shifts on a volunteer basis, but the department knows that going into the agreement.

“I believe there will be a positive impact,” Armijo said.

The trial period will test the effectiveness of high police visibility and proactive community-based policing.

At the end of trial period Oceanside police will provide the transit district with a report of findings and recommendations. It will then be determined if service will continue for another 30 days.

Oceanside Transit Center previously utilized transit district code enforcement officers to monitor the station. The new plan is for transit district staff to serve on board trains and police to service the platform. A transit district representative said the goal is to provide better customer service.

Similar arrangements are underway with local law enforcement at the Escondido and Vista transit center sites.

Last year police responded to 550 calls for service at the Oceanside Transit Center. This year police have responded to 296 calls so far.