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Local News in Brief : Countywide : OCTD Security Officers May Get Arrest Powers

People who cause trouble on an Orange County Transit District bus may soon face arrest by a security officer instead of a local policeman.

OCTD’s board of directors will consider a proposal Monday to give its existing security force the same authority to make misdemeanor arrests that sworn peace officers have, officials said. They will not carry firearms, however.

The proposal attempts to solve a legal problem that makes it difficult to prosecute people for incidents on buses that are moving from one city into another, OCTD spokeswoman Joanne Curran said.

Curran added that city police are often too busy to respond to minor incidents on buses quickly enough. The proposal to give OCTD security officers misdemeanor arrest authority has the support of Sheriff-Coroner Brad Gates and several police departments, Curran said.

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Transit agencies in Santa Cruz and San Diego use a similar system. In Los Angeles County, the Southern California Rapid Transit District uses transit police who carry firearms.

OCTD has four full-time security officers and one part-time employee who would be affected by the proposed change, Curran said.

For the year to date, Curran said, OCTD has recorded 32 felony incidents and 159 misdemeanors ranging from assaults and a vehicle theft to disturbing the peace.

For the same period in 1987, OCTD recorded 15 felony incidents and 153 misdemeanors.

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The salaries of OCTD security officers will not be increased, Curran said.


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