BART board to vote on unarmed ambassador pilot program

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- BART's board of directors is scheduled to vote on Thursday on a six-month pilot ambassador program.

"The program is $1.5 million for the pilot, and that will take us through about six months at $810,000... and that's to pay for the community service officers, their shift differential for working after hours, as well as a special assignment paid for taking on the additional responsibility from walking the trains on a daily basis," explained BART Deputy General Manager Michael Jones.

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BART's ambassador program will include 10 unarmed trained civilian police department members.

The unarmed ambassadors will ride the system and inform BART police officers of any law enforcement-related concerns between 2 p.m. and midnight.

"Not an enforcement activity... it's to provide presence, walk the trains. If they see any issues that need to be addressed by the BART police department, they have the radios, the relationships, and they call that in for service," said Jones.

The new role also comes with a nice paycheck.

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"The average community service officer is makes about $33 an hour and, if you take the 10% special assignment that they'll get, as well as the 7% shift differential, that will put them right up about $40 an hour," said Jones.

BART is planning to hire the ambassadors from within its police department.

If approved by the board, the program will be up and running as early as February 10.

Luz Pena will have more on this story starting at 5 p.m. on ABC7 News. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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