BART reminds riders to serve as extra eyes and ears for suspicious activity
In the wake of the Moscow bombings, BART officials held a news conference on Monday to both reassure the public that officers remain on high alert and to reengage riders to be the agency’s extra eyes and ears when it comes to reporting suspicious activity and behavior.
"Before the bombing in Russia the BART PD was already on 'yellow alert,' which means officers continue to focus on any unusual activity, such as suspicious behavior, and maintain vigilance over critical assets and all parts of the BART system," Daniel Hartwig, BART Police Commander and Manager of Security Programs, said. For the past month, BART Police officers have been attending refresher counterterrorism training to recognize and respond to potential terrorist activity. "With the terrorist actions in Moscow, we refocus and intensify our efforts," Commander Hartwig said.
"We are telling our officers that they need to be extra vigilant today," BART Board Member Joel Keller said. "Watch commanders and lieutenants are reminding the rank and file to employ some of the specific lessons they learned in training to recognize and deal with any suspicious activity." Keller leads BART’s Security Advocacy Ad Hoc Committee, which includes BART Board Members Carole Ward Allen and John McPartland.
"We also rely on our riders to enhance all the security mechanisms we have in place,” BART McPartland said at Monday's news conference. "We carry 340,000 passengers each weekday—that’s 340,000 extra pairs of eyes and ears to watch for dubious behavior. If you see anything that’s suspicious report it immediately to BART Police." BART Police encourage riders to program the police department’s toll-free 877-679-7000 number in their mobile phones. Riders can also contact authorities using the white courtesy phones in the stations, the intercoms located at either end of a train car or by dialing 911.
As part of Monday's security reminder, BART invited the media to join two members of its BART Police K-9 Unit as they patrolled trains. All the eight canines in the unit are trained in explosives detection and are a highly visible and effective deterrent to terrorist activity on trains, in stations and throughout the BART system.
For more information on Safety and Security in the BART system, and what you can do to help, go to the Safety and Security section of the BART website.
Originally posted on Monday, March 29; updated on Tuesday, March 30, with quotes from press conference.