Metro-East News

Changes made to security leadership at MetroLink, for now

Is MetroLink really so dangerous?

To figure out if MetroLink is really so dangerous, the Belleville News-Democrat collected reports from 15 police departments on the line as well as crime data from the past three years.
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To figure out if MetroLink is really so dangerous, the Belleville News-Democrat collected reports from 15 police departments on the line as well as crime data from the past three years.

MetroLink has a new security leader, at least on an interim basis.

Bi-State Development President and CEO Taulby Roach confirmed that MetroLink General Manager Scott Grott’s duties have been expanded, on an interim basis, to oversee security on the system.

“We have implemented a complete, managerial change on the top of our security department,” Roach said in an interview with the BND on Saturday.

“Grott has vast technical knowledge of how system works,” Roach added.

Roach said the move is not permanent.

The role of security manager and assistant security manager is being redesigned in conjunction with the security assessment report due to come back in February, Roach said.

He added security is the number one point of focus for Bi-State.

“Since I walked in the door, I’ve been rallying our team toward that focus,” Roach said. “I felt this move was necessary to signal that change.”

The perception of how good safety and security is on the MetroLink became a point of contention after some high-profile incidents such as a rider was shot and killed at the University of Missouri-St. Louis South stop; a man was arrested after assaulting a security officer at the Fairview Heights station; a homeless man was shot and killed on the Busch Stadium MetroLink platform, among others took place over the course of a year.

Roach could not comment on the status of Richard Zott, Metro’s public safety chief, and his top assistant Jason Davis, or whether they were still with Bi-State.

The chief of security for Metro and the MetroLink light rail and bus system knows the St. Louis region is a high crime area. He says local mass transit is safe, but can be safer.

“Just like any organization, things change around you,” Roach said. “You have to be vibrant so things work so you do better business.”

There have been issues, including communication issues, between MetroLink Security and the three main police agencies along the line: the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, the St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Department, and the St. Louis County Police Department.

“Part of our job is to get along professionally with our partners,” Roach said. “We won’t have a good future, or deliver first class service without having strong relationships with all three of those departments.”

Joseph Bustos is the state affairs and politics reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat, where he strives to hold elected officials accountable and provide context to decisions they make. He has won multiple awards from the Illinois Press Association for coverage of sales tax referendums.


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