The Long Beach Police Department’s contract to patrol Los Angeles County Metro trains in the city could be extended by another year as the transit agency continues to weigh whether it will pivot to its own in-house police force in the future.

The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to allow the LPBD to continue to patrol the Metro A Line in Long Beach through at least June 2024. The contract originally signed in March 2017 was for five years and $30 million, but extending it could raise the total contract amount to $54.2 million.

It’s unclear how many more extensions the LBPD or the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, the two other agencies Metro outsources police services to, will get after this contract.

Earlier this year, the Metro Board of Directors began discussing the potential of forming its own police force so the agency could have better control over deployment and the culture of the department.

An inspector general’s report issued in December found that the three agencies were either deploying officers in their departments’ vehicles rather than on the trains and buses, or the agency could not easily verify if officers had actually been on trains or platforms.

The report found that LASD deputies were only assigned to ride trains in 12 of the 178 weekly shifts it has under its contract, which has the largest share of the roughly $911 million Metro has paid the three agencies since 2017.

Metro calls for service in LAPD’s areas of service were answered by officers not assigned to Metro 54% of the time, according to the report. The report noted that LBPD was not able to provide information about the number of train boardings its officers made or how much time they spent at stations, noting that type of data has always been self-reported.

In June, Metro’s board of directors voted to authorize its staff to prepare a detailed report on what creating its own internal force could look like. Early estimates said that the agency could potentially save money if it switched to that model.

The annual Metro budget for the three law enforcement agencies is about $173 million, according to Metro, and Metro staff told the board of directors earlier this year that switching to an in-house police force could drop that figure to about $135 million per year.

A report could be presented to the Metro board in early 2024.

Metro to get report on what creating its own police force would require in January

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.