The Regional Transportation District plans to reduce its reliance on contracted private security, but at the same time increase its own professional police force.
“Transit Security Officers are a highly effective method to provide staff and ridership with a visible security presence and should always remain a part of the model,” read a briefing paper for a Nov. 18 ad hoc safety committee meeting. “However, as stated previously, because of tremendous growth throughout the District, increased infrastructure, ridership, and exposure to potential liabilities, it is recommended to reallocate many of these services to professional POST certified police.”
POST refers to the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which certifies law enforcement personnel.
Mike Meader, the assistant general manager for safety, security and asset management, authored the five-page outline describing how the contracted transit security officers from Allied Universal will see their duties narrowed. RTD envisions the contractors will no longer respond to emergency calls and trespassing complaints or perform fare enforcement.
Instead, they will remain posted at “highly visible assignments,” focus on customer service, and be liaisons to law enforcement and medical responders.
“The recommended reorg request that has been presented actually reduces the overall number of full-time deployments,” Meader indicated. “We believe that the number of Armed TSO staff will be greatly reduced with the elimination of armed response and armed fare enforcement at the end of the 5-year reorganization period.”
From 2021 through 2025, RTD estimates adding 82 full-time police officers. Currently, there are fewer than a dozen. The first phase in 2021 would eliminate security officers in mobile patrol cars and as fare enforcement personnel in the commuter rail system.
CPR reports that RTD has more than 300 private security officers, along with even more off-duty police officers. While RTD indicated it would reduce positions for the latter, it would like to maintain “partnerships” with local police forces.