According to Fox News, LA County District Attorney George Gascon’s office kicked off the Employee Secure Transport and Escort Program (E-STEP) on Monday in order to provide free safe transportation for employees assigned to the Civic Center area.
The DA's Bureau of Investigation is overseeing the program which will be operating until permanent transportation services are secured.
According to a release announcing the program, "Security incidents involving aggressive confrontations initiated by members of the public have occurred to our employees assigned in the Civic Center area while walking between their vehicles or transportation area and the office."
Employees are picked up and dropped off in a seven-passenger minivan from centralized points at the Hall of Justice at the Civic Center and connect them to Union Station and a parking lot in Chinatown.
The service operates weekdays from 6:20 am to 8:20 am and 4 pm to 6 pm and shuttles stop at each location every 20 minutes.
Gascon is facing growing backlash because he continues not to prosecute crimes.
John McKinney, a prosecutor with the DA's office who is running to against Gascon in 2024, told Fox News, "It is unprecedented in the 173-year history of the LA District Attorney’s Office that employees need to be escorted to and from their cars to protect them from random violent attacks,"
"While I applaud George Gascon for taking measures to ensure the safety of DA staff, I blame his policies that have contributed to the need for such extraordinary measures. My thoughts also go out to the millions of Los Angelenos who have to travel about the County of Los Angeles without the same protection."
Meanwhile, Los Angelinos who do not work for Gascon’s office have fled public transportation due to rampant drug use and violence. According to the Los Angeles Daily News, serious crimes, such as aggravated assault, rape, and murder on Los Angeles transit increased by 24 percent in 2022, compared to 2021, and other less-serious crimes increased by 14 percent.
An unidentified Metro train operator told the Los Angeles Times, "We don’t even see any business people anymore. We don’t see anybody going to Universal. It’s just people who have no other choice [than] to ride the system, homeless people and drug users.”
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