MARTA police chief discusses public safety efforts with $1.4 million grant

MARTA Police Chief Scott Kreher discusses several topics, including a recent $1.4 million grant that the department received from Gov. Brian Kemp, the current state of policing and efforts to recruit new police officers. (LaShawn Hudson/WABE)

MARTA Police Chief Scott Kreher says his department’s number one goal is to make sure that its riders and citizens feel safe.

By bus or train, it’s estimated that more than a half million people ride the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority each day. But while they’re working to ensure daily safety, the MARTA Police Department (MPD) is also navigating a shortage of police officers.

“We are roughly about 50 officers short of where we should be right now,” explained Chief Kreher. “That doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe. We do a lot of things to help with that, between overtime and making our shifts change around a little bit to cover our busiest peaks.”

Kreher, a guest on Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look,” further explained to show host Rose Scott that the department recently received $1.4 million from Gov. Brian Kemp through the Public Safety and Community Violence Reduction Grant.

Kreher says the funding will be used to strengthen and expand community outreach programs and hire between four to five officers a year for the next couple of years.

During the conversation, the veteran law enforcement officer also talked about the importance of police officers having cultural diversity training and the current state of policing.

“I think we have to a better job as a profession, really concentrating on best practices — not leaning on policies and procedures that I used 30 years ago,” said Kreher.