The MARTA Police Department (MPD) has received a $1.4 million grant from the State of Georgia through the American Rescue Plan State Fiscal Recovery Fund Public Safety and Community Violence Reduction Grant Program.

The grant will be used to facilitate the recruitment and hiring of qualified law enforcement officials, expand the existing force, and other MPD programs.

“The MARTA Police Department is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our valued customers and the communities we serve,” said MARTA Police Chief Scott Kreher in a press release. “This grant from Gov. [Brian] Kemp will enable us to bolster our resources and enhance our ability to provide effective law enforcement services, further strengthening our partnership with the community.”

“MARTA remains steadfast in its commitment to delivering dependable, efficient, and secure transit to the region. With the generous support of this grant from Governor Kemp, the MARTA Police Department will continue to evolve and adapt, ensuring it effectively anticipates the needs of our customers and upholds a safe and secure environment,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Collie Greenwood in the release.

MPD reports a 17 percent reduction in Part 1 crimes (violent and property crimes), and a 42 percent reduction in operator assaults. Enforcement of MARTA’s Ride with Respect Program resulted in over 5,000 temporary or yearlong system suspensions for violators and over 70 permanent bans. Additionally, MPD partners with Hope Atlanta to provide support and resources to unsheltered individuals on the system.

MPD also recently achieved state law enforcement certification, a complex process established to ensure agencies are held to the highest standards of ethics and safety and are compliant with the law and current policing procedures.

Last month, MPD was awarded the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 2023 Rail Security Gold Award for heavy rail stations for its outstanding security programs, specifically the Joint Bike Patrol Team partnership with the Atlanta Police Department.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.