Federal Official Returns to Metro As the New Chief of Transit Police

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 22, 2008

Metro has hired the transit security chief of the Federal Transit Administration to be the agency's new police chief, officials said yesterday.

Michael Taborn, 55, who starts March 10, has been director of the FTA's transit safety and security office for about five years. Before joining the FTA, he worked for the Metro Transit Police for 28 years, retiring as a captain in 2002.

"Having been here when the first trains rolled out and now coming back to lead the Metro Transit Police completes a circle for me," Taborn said in a statement. In his last police job at Metro, Taborn was commander of the training division.

Taborn, who will be paid $160,000 a year, will report to General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. Metro has been looking for a permanent chief since Polly Hanson retired last year and was promoted to assistant general manager for safety and security. The announcement comes as the transit system faces an increase in robberies, thefts from vehicles at Metro parking lots and assaults on bus operators.

Transit security has been a growing concern since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and later bombings of commuter trains in Madrid, London and elsewhere. Metro, which has the second-busiest subway in the country after New York's, carries 1.2 million riders on a typical weekday.

At the FTA, Taborn's office is responsible for coordinating safety and security for about 5,000 transit agencies, he said. He has worked closely with the top 50 transit agencies on training employees, emergency management and public awareness campaigns.

Asked whether he thought Metro should institute random bag searches, as New York did after the deadly bombings in London's subway, Taborn said the issue "would require extensive consultation" with Catoe and the Metro board. "There are pros and cons," he said.

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