CTA, Chicago police to add K-9s, additional officers to transit system following weekend Red Line homicide

The Chicago Police Department is “dedicated to ensuring that the people who ride the CTA are safe,” Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference Monday following the fatal shooting of a man riding the Red Line over the weekend.

Brown said the department’s police officer deployments to the transit system are “strategic and data driven” and officers are being pulled from desk duties to help meet demand. Despite the recent fatal shooting, Brown emphasized that CTA crime is down 43% when compared to 2019 numbers before the pandemic, but crime numbers are up when compared to last year.

“A single incident can color everything we do,” Brown said. “We’re committed to adding more and more resources to do whatever it takes to make sure our CTA is safe.”

The 29-year-old man was fatally shot just after 2 a.m. Saturday in the first block of West 79th Street while riding the Red Line, according to Chicago police. The man was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he died from multiple gunshot wounds at 2:33 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The man has not yet been identified, according to the medical examiner’s office.

No arrests have been made, police said.

“We ask all residents on the CTA to report what they see that’s suspicious so we can respond,” Brown said.

Brown would not elaborate on specific number of officers being deployed to the CTA, citing security concerns.

At a Saturday news conference, CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said the fatal shooting was a “senseless act of violence that has no place anywhere in the city, and especially not on the CTA.”

The CTA is doing “everything they can to stem these egregious acts of violence,” Carter added.

Brown, on Saturday, announced another team of Chicago police officers will be added to the CTA. The CTA will also bring back K-9 security guard teams, Carter said.

Police and CTA officials on March 9 announced plans to address crime and rule-breaking. They planned to double the number of unarmed security guards and add more police officers and supervisors to patrol the transit system.

This isn’t the first time K-9s have been used for CTA security. In 2019, the CTA canceled its contract with a security firm that struggled to train its guards to handle dogs, and the transit agency decided it would no longer use dogs to deter crime. The change came after the CTA learned that most dog handler applications for the guards were deficient.

The Chicago-based security agency, AGB Investigative Services, started providing canine security teams on CTA trains and platforms in May 2019, taking over from a previous firm. But the CTA ended what was to have been a two-year contract in August 2019. After pulling the dogs, a CTA spokesperson said, “we don’t believe canines are the most effective deterrent service.”

According to Tribune archives, the CTA had hired more than 50 canines — German shepherds, Doberman pinschers and Rottweilers — to patrol the transit system in the late 1980s.

pfry@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @paigexfry