By Maureen Post Special to Published Dec 08, 2008 at 3:40 PM

The Milwaukee County Transit System and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke are stepping up their call for safety.

Reacting to recent bus crime incidents, MCTS and Clarke plan a public education effort starting next week to focus on increasing awareness of both passengers and drivers. Public education will consist of on-air television and radio announcements as well as online (MCTS is an advertiser on and community newspaper spots.

In an MCTS statement, president and managing director Anita Gulotta-Connelly says, "Our top priority is the safety and security of our passengers and drivers, and this effort will help us enforce a zero tolerance policy. We want to send a message that disruptive and illegal behavior will not be tolerated because the transit system is vital to our community."

A new program provides individuals assisting in the identification, arrest and conviction of an offender a cash reward of $300. In addition, the program increases targeted patrols by County Sherriff's deputies and increased data sharing between the two institutions.

Current safety measures include four security cameras on every bus, private security staff, a GPS system, a silent alarm system and coordination with Milwaukee Police Department and other local police departments.

Last month, MCTS announced about 30 buses will get Lexan safety shield barriers in early 2009 to increase driver and passenger safety. If instituted system-wide, Milwaukee would be the first city in the United States to put such shields on all its buses.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.