Transit system police chief dies of unknown cause

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Bill Burke (Photo: inewssource)

SAN DIEGO — Bill Burke, the chief of police for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, died Monday of unknown causes at the age of 68, the transit agency reported.

Burke was hired by the MTS in 2001, was promoted to director of security three years later and became its first chief of police in 2011.

“Bill will be missed greatly at MTS,” said Paul Jablonski, the transit agency’s CEO.

“He brought many innovations to MTS and helped our system become one of the safest in the nation,” Jablonski said. “More than that, Bill was a gentleman who earned respect from every one of his colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.”

The MTS said Burke was responsible for significant security improvements, including closed-circuit television surveillance at trolley stations; cameras installed on trolleys and buses; body cameras on code compliance inspectors; creating canine teams trained by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration; closer working relationships with local law enforcement agencies, the TSA and U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and development of the local “See Something, Say Something” campaign.

Deputy Director of Transit Security Manuel Guaderrama was named the acting director of security for MTS, effective immediately.

Burke is survived by his wife Janice, three children and five grandchildren.