BART Board tables vote on several proposed safety measures

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- People at the BART Board of Directors Meeting urged the Board not to use the stabbing death of Nia Wilson as an excuse to increase state surveillance.

"It's biased, it's inaccurate and it's dangerous," said Tracy Rosenberg of Oakland Privacy.

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Earlier this week, BART Board member Nick Josefowitz told ABC7 News he wants to consider facial recognition software, but the Board's General Manaer said that is not a part of the safety plan introduced.

"Even if you do not currently apply facial recognition yourselves to this data other people will apply it," said one person.

"I respect people's right to privacy so we have to define that balance that's going to be tough because there are directors who feel very strongly one way and directors who feel very strongly another way," said Joel Keller, BART Director District 2.

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The board ultimately decided to table discussions on a physical security information management system, video surveillance screens, a no panhandling ordinance, making it harder to fare evade or bypass fare gates and an additional proof of payment team for evenings. Those discussions will be held until a suburban evening public meeting within a month.

"How about helping the people who need BART and have no other option," said one person referring to fare evaders.

The board voted to continue researching now the expansion and conversion to a digital camera network and platform emergency call boxes.

Eva Chao says she wants more BART police: "I believe we need them to protect our riders," said Chao.

"We're currently under emergency staffing so our officers are working six days a week with one day off," said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas.

The board also voted to better engage city governments on issues of homelessness and mental health.

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