The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) named Al Stiehler as the organization’s new director of transit security & passenger safety. Stiehler, who most recently served as chief of field operations for New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will begin his role Jan. 18.
“MTS engaged in a national search to find the right candidate to continue improving how we handle security and enforcement,” said MTS CEO Sharon Cooney. “We had a great deal of interest in the position, in part due to the exciting changes we are implementing here in San Diego. I’m looking forward to working with Al as a member of our agency’s executive leadership team.”
Stiehler will oversee 64 internal MTS Code Compliance Inspectors and 158 contracted security officers. Officers work in teams of two and are responsible for patrolling 54 stations, three Trolley lines, and 95 bus routes. Since July, MTS has been aggressively pursuing improvements to its security policies and procedures, including:
- Adopting many of the principles in the “8 Can’t Wait” campaign and as a guideline for its use-of-force policy.
- Banning carotid restraints and choke holds, including the prohibition of using knee pressure on the neck, throat, or head.
- Adopting a “duty to intervene” if MTS security officers witness excessive force by another employee.
- Implementing a fare citation diversion pilot program to help riders caught without a fare avoid court fees and criminal citation.
- Conducting a third-party peer review of its security policies and procedures, which includes a community-based steering committee to assist with recommendations.
Stiehler has been serving as the chief of field operations for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority since 2017. He also spent 30 years in various law enforcement positions at the New Jersey Transit Police Department, including deputy chief of police and field operations.
Stiehler takes over for Manny Guaderrama, who retired in late August.