San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Director of Transit Enforcement Manuel Guaderrama will retire Aug. 28, after five years in the position. He previously served as the agency's deputy director and is a 30-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department.
A national search is underway for his replacement and will be led by MTS Board Chair Nathan Fletcher and Public Security Committee Chair Monica Montgomery. The position will be publicly posted on the MTS Careers webpage next week.
"I'd like to personally thank Manny for his nearly four decades of dedicated public service," said Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair.” I am also excited about what the future holds for MTS. We've made recent progress to begin redefining our approach to security, but we are only at the beginning. This change is an opportunity to embrace a fresh approach with new leadership."
The agency has made recent improvements to its security practices and is embarking on a broad third-party review of enforcement policies and procedures. In June, the MTS Board approved a fare diversion program that goes into effect in September 2020. The diversion program reduces fines, offers more payment options, a community service option in lieu of payment and a new appeal window.
MTS also revised its use-of-force policy for security officers in June. The new policy includes de-escalation tactics whenever possible, prohibits the use of carotid restraint or any neck restraint and requires security officers to intervene if they witness excessive force.
Guaderrama has oversight of approximately 144 security officers from Transit Systems Security, a contracted security agency that provides security and patrol services for MTS, and 64 code compliance inspectors who check for proper fares, maintain a safe environment at transit stations and issue citations. Under Guaderrama's leadership, MTS implemented a new security staffing plan that offers greater coverage on the light-rail system. code compliance inspectors and Transit System Security (TSS) officers began working a beat system of three to five stations. The new staffing plan has allowed MTS to increase security presence during the day and maintain coverage in the evenings.
Other accomplishments include:
- Developing a joint agency task force with the Sheriff’s Department, and San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon and La Mesa police departments to better integrate law enforcement personnel into MTS security efforts.
- Developing the “Ride Assured” marketing campaign to highlight a new texting feature to report suspicious activity or illegal behavior.
- Modernizing MTS record management systems and utilizing the Automated Regional Justice Information System to share information among justice agencies in San Diego.
- Implementing de-escalation training and biased-based policing in 2018 for all security officers.
- Maintaining a fare evasion rate of three percent.
- Fostering partnerships for joint security training exercises with police departments and Sheriff’s Department.
- Supplying body cameras for security officers.
- Managing three K-9 patrol teams.