Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sheriff's Team Helps Keep O.C. Transit Safe

OCTA Security Manager Bruce Gadbois, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, OCTA CEO Will Kempton and Transit Police Chief Lt. Jim Rudy discuss the future of transit security.

Sheriff Sandra Hutchins and Lt. Jim Rudy, chief of OCTA's Transit Security Services, discussed transit security issues with the Orange County Transportation Authority and its new CEO, Will Kempton this week.

The sheriff offered OCTA any assistance that the department could provide "to ensure the safety of Orange County's riders and to keep the transit system safe."

They also discussed vital security services provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department in its 15-year partnership with OCTA.

When the Sheriff's Department began providing transit security services in 1992, Cathy Zurn, then a sergeant, headed the department. Next month, Capt. Zurn retires from the Sheriff's Department with 30 years of service.

"The Sheriff's Department is proud to serve OCTA over the years," Rudy said. "We're going to continue that effective partnership and collaborative effort."

That effort has led to solutions to enhance safety from roundtables with coach operators and transit police, a successful anti-graffiti program and a strong working relationship that ensures OCTA continues to receive quality service.

In a July 29 incident, Deputy Tony Lim received help from coach operator Tony Aidukas in apprehending a repeat fare-evader. When the fare-evader became violent, Aidukas stepped in to help the deputy. Deputy Mike LaBarbera also assisted in the arrest.

Rudy also shared crime statistics that indicate that OCTA has one of the lowest crime rates in the country in terms of size and boardings.

Kempton thanked the Sheriff's Department for its service to the public and said he looked forward to addressing safety issues and other challenges that will inevitably arise in operating a large transit system.

Listen! Want to learn more about what it takes to keep Orange County among the safest transit system's in the nation? I did. To listen to my interview with the county's top law enforcement officers from my iPhone audioBoo application, click here.

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