Metra customers will soon be able to use an app to easily report crimes, suspicious activity and security concerns to Metra Police, giving them a discreet and convenient way to connect with police from a train or station.
The Metra Board of Directors on Wednesday approved a five-year, $274,000 contract with ELERTS Corporation to provide Metra with an incident reporting system for smartphones. The Massachusetts-based firm was the sole responsive bidder for the contracted work, which is being funded entirely by the FEMA Transit Security Grant Program.
The free app, which will be available for Apple and Android users in early 2019, will provide a direct and immediate connection to Metra Police.
“We hope our customers will embrace this new channel of communication to help us enhance the safety and security of our entire system by using the technology they carry with them every day to see something, say something,” said Metra Police Chief Joseph Perez. “We always ask our customers and employees to remain vigilant, and we understand that using an app is sometimes more convenient than making a phone call.”
Users will be able to select the type of activity they would like to report, such as a crime in progress, disruptive behavior or an unattended item. They can then send a description along with a photo and/or video of the issue being reported and the GPS location of the issue. The app automatically disables the user’s smartphone flash, and reports can be made anonymously.
Metra dispatchers can respond to the customer through the app, send out advisories and broadcast “Be on the Lookout” alerts to app users.
When the app launches, customers will continue to be able to report safety and security concerns to Metra Police at 312-322-2800.