ST. LOUIS – Bi-State Development announced Wednesday that it is adding new security measures at MetroLink stations.

Taulby Roach, president, and CEO of Bi-State Development, said they’ve decided to utilize a pilot program with metal detectors to try to intercept weapons coming into the system.

“Of course, it has to be staffed, so metal detectors that you would have to walk through, and it’s going to be at random stations,” he said. “It’s going to be portable that we move around in partnership with our police partners; we have to have police partners there.”

There would be two metal detectors in the pilot program that would be shuttled among stations in St. Louis City and County and St. Clair County. Police would help at the metal detector checkpoints. The program could go into effect in two weeks.

This is coming after two shootings on MetroLink trains in a matter of weeks. In one incident, a man was struck with a gun. The gun discharged on the train full of passengers who had just returned from a Cardinal baseball game. Fortunately, no one was hit.

In the second incident, two men got into an argument, drew their guns, and began firing. One of the shooters was killed.

“Look, we understand, and we’re disappointed anytime anything happens on our system,” Roach said. “But what you can expect from us is a professional and real response.”

Roach also announced that the agency was doubling the number of security cameras from 800 to 1600 to better keep an eye on incidents in real-time.

“They’ll be put where people come into the station, we can look at whether we have wanted people on the system or someone that we’[re looking for,” he said.

The third step is that Bi-State will spend another $750,000 on police overtime to keep more officers on the system in the coming months.
Roach praised the actions of the police officers on the train during the last shooting, in which a man was killed.

“As disappointing as that circumstance was, those officers acted incredibly bravely,” he said.

“Well, I would say it’s about the same as it been,” said Daniel Brand, a MetroLink passenger. “It hasn’t gotten any worse; it hasn’t gotten any better, I don’t think.”

He did raise the issue of the security guards on the system who have no guns after Bi-State disarmed them.

“The kids probably like Metro security; they don’t carry weapons,” Brand said. “So the local kids they don’t acknowledge them like they would a St. Louis City or St. Louis County officer.”

Roach said he had no plans to return guns to the guards.

“No, because we are concentrating those professional resources where they are appropriated for the right training at the right time at the right place,” he said.

Brand mentioned the most important security he sees.

“I think the major thing for me and other people is that police officers, actually St. Louis police and St. Louis County police, are riding the trains,” he said.

Roach said he’s trying to do just that with the increased money for overtime.