SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Data from 2020 shows while BART police responded to thousands of calls last year, almost 40% of them were related to "well-being and medical assistance," not crime, which was only 8% of overall dispatches.
"We took the national conversation seriously on what reimagining policing would look like moving forward as a result of some of the incidents that happened across this country," BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez said. "So we started looking at how can we do things differently at BART to help with the crises that are going on with mental health, drug use, and homelessness."
The idea is to boost the unarmed presence within BART.
Under the new BART PD Progressive Policing and Community Engagement Bureau, the agency is hiring transit ambassadors and crisis intervention specialists. Ambassadors have been patrolling trains and stations, and offering rider customer service since last February. The crisis intervention specialists are 20 new positions created for outreach.
"A police officer might not be needed to handle that call," Chief Alvarez said. "It could just be someone looking for a resource, a shelter for that night or for that week. They possibly need medication, things like that. So why not bring the professionals that know about that into our system to help take care of those calls for us?"
The starting salary for a crisis intervention specialist is between $80,000 and just under $100,000 a year based on experience. For transit ambassadors, the yearly salary will be between $55,000 and $70,000 a year.
Chief Alvarez hopes to have the positions filled by mid to late summer.
Visit this page for more information on these jobs.
THURSDAY'S FEATURED JOBS:
Job: Crisis Intervention Specialists
Requirements: Bachelor's Degree, 2+ years experience in social work, etc.
Job: Transit Ambassadors
Requirements: High School Diploma and/or GED, customer service skills, etc.