BART board considering different options for adding security

Who do you think should be keeping an eye out for BART riders and their safety? BART officials are considering proposals to add more armed police officers or unarmed ambassadors to stations.

BART officials are debating this issue and would like to hear from its customers.

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Here is a sample of what ABC7 News heard from riders:

John Duda of Pleasant Hill said: "I like police officers better. I feel safer with them around. I don't know what an ambassador would be able to do."

But Nadeen Ahmed of Walnut Creek had this to say:

"I'd rather have unarmed. I have seen attendants do a good job of deescalating a situation so I don't think there's a need at this point."

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BART is planning to do something about security because riders have said they have concerns about safety.

"They want more presence. They want employees there to be able to handle a situation if it comes up," said Bart spokesperson Alicia Trost.

The general manager announced her proposed budget to the board of directors yesterday.

"She is proposing to add 19 new officers," said Trost.

But some on the board asked about ambassadors instead of officers, possibly ex-cons, who need a new start and bring a different perspective to situations.

"It is something we are looking at. We have to make sure we can afford whatever we do pick," said Trost.

The idea of adding ambassadors is building on something they are already doing in San Francisco. They hired people to patrol the elevators and say it has been a huge success.

"The data showed all illegal behavior came to an end when we did that because we are staffing the elevators. There's someone in there who is official, they have a vest they have a radio. Someone's not going to come on and abuse the elevator anymore," said Trost.

The board is set to vote on the budget in June so there is still plenty of time to express your opinion.


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