Come April, Every DART Train Will Have A Uniformed Security Presence Ready To Intervene In A Moment’s Notice If Things Get Sketchy.
For some, not riding the DART trains comes down to one thing: It doesn’t feel safe.
But, in theory anyway, that should be changing soon, now that the team behind DART has announced a new plan in which it promises to put an officer on every single train DART operates on a daily basis.
DART media rep Mark Ball says that the move is a result of criticism the organization has received about a lack of official police presence, as well as a general push to increase security at light rail stations — namely in the West End and other downtown stops.
“By April, we should have a uniformed presence on every one of our trains,” Ball says when reached by phone this afternoon. “It would be either a security guard, fare enforcement officer or a DART Police officer.”
Ball also adds that it’s important to note that trains have multiple cars, and there won’t be an officer in each car — but that they will cycle through the various cars as the trains complete their routes.
“All that has to be worked out, but the initial plan will be to have that presence throughout DART’s daily schedule,” Ball says. “They will have a firearm and wear a patch that denotes them working for DART, either directly or as a contractor.”
In December, the DART board approved a $1.7 million spending measure to add 30 security guards from the Walden Security group. Ball says that the role of those security guards — their biggest role currently is to escort DART employees to and from ticket vending machines as they collect money — will simply be expanded.
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As part of the security increase, the public transit organization is also working to install cameras on every train. The plan there, Ball says, is to have 50 installations completed by April and then another 50 by the end of the year, with the ultimate goal being to have all 160 cars fitted within two years.
These moves to improve security have already been praised by the Dallas City Council, whose members have often been critical of DART’s handling of security and administrative issues.
“DART is really, really important, and for too long, DART has been an avenue for criminal activity,” council member Philip Kingston was quoted as saying by the Dallas Morning News. “And seeing DART renew its commitment to making that experience safe for the riders is really important for those of us who live in and around transfer stations.”