Metro-East News

New MetroLink deputies from St. Clair County could patrol both sides of river

MetroLink riders talk safety at SWIC station

St. Clair County IL County Board Chairman Mark Kern has called for more security on St. Louis, MO MetroLink trains that run through southern Illinois that includes stops at Scott Air Force Base AFB, IL, Belleville, IL, Swansea, IL, Fairview Height
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St. Clair County IL County Board Chairman Mark Kern has called for more security on St. Louis, MO MetroLink trains that run through southern Illinois that includes stops at Scott Air Force Base AFB, IL, Belleville, IL, Swansea, IL, Fairview Height

The St. Clair County Sheriff's Department will soon hire three new deputies to patrol the MetroLink, potentially on both the Missouri and Illinois sides of the Mississippi River.

The county's transit district approved $125,000 on Tuesday toward the efforts, according to St. Clair County Transit District Director Ken Sharkey.

"We're trying to protect our ridership to make sure our clientele we serve feel safe on the train," Sharkey said.

The legal framework for allowing law enforcement officials to cross the state line is "being worked out," Sharkey said. The sheriff's department already provides the service on the St. Clair County side, he added.

Policing the public transit rail has been complicated by coordinating multiple police departments, not to mention spanning legal challenges in two states.

A 2017 agreement between law enforcement in both states established security parameters for what officials in the region want to accomplish, but the ability for officers to police on both sides has not yet gone into effect.

The transit district was created in 1981 to administer contracts for St. Clair County with transportation providers, including Bi-State Development, which runs MetroLink.

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