Misconduct on the train? Report it using new Metra app
Miscreants on the Milwaukee West? Bad actors on the BNSF? Untoward behavior on the Union Pacific?
There's an app for that dubbed Metra COPS, which allows riders to discreetly report wrongdoing on trains.
Metra wants riders to alert authorities if they see crimes, suspicious behavior or security threats occurring on Metra, and "using this app can be a more convenient way to do that than making a phone call," Police Chief Joseph Perez said.
The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store for Apple customers and from Google Play for Android users.
Besides telling authorities if you see a crime occurring, you can use the app to report disruptive behavior, unattended bags or packages, vandalism, panhandling and people failing to pay fares.
Commuters should send a description of the problem, including when and where it's occurring, along with a photo or video. The app disables a smartphone's camera flash to avoid being noticed, and reports can be made anonymously.
A Metra police dispatcher will reply to riders using the app and can send out alerts to passengers.
Police want passengers to focus on safety problems and not to overload dispatchers with concerns about delays, service disruptions or travel questions.
A federal grant is paying for the app program; Metra has a five-year $274,000 contract with Massachusetts-based provider ELERTS Corp.
Riders also can still report crimes or security issues to Metra police at (312) 322-2800.