BART opens outreach survey to public on new public safety approaches

10.16.20

BART opens outreach survey to public on new public safety approaches

UPDATE AS OF 12/21/2020: Thank you for participating in the survey. The survey is now closed. 

BART is conducting outreach on new public safety approaches that emphasize responding to homelessness, behavioral health and substance use issues without relying on armed police.

We invite you to take this survey and tell us your opinion about how BART could address these societal issues in our system in the future.

BART General Manager Bob Powers has pledged $2 million in operating funds, originally identified for COVID-19 pandemic enforcement using sworn officers, to be reallocated toward more unarmed civilian employees providing presence and assistance and to expanded training.
 
Already in 2020, there have been some big developments in the BART Police Department:

  • PD Chief Ed Alvarez created a new Progressive Policing and Community Engagement Bureau;
  • A new team of highly visible ambassadors (see image below) were recruited from the ranks of Community Service Officers (CSOs), who are unarmed and trained in de-escalation and anti-bias techniques;
  • BART has extended partnerships with community-based providers like Homeless Outreach Teams (HOT) to help connect those in need with services;
  • The focus of these unarmed personnel is on education, outreach, and prevention

BART Ambassadors

“We’re a transit system that takes people from Point A to Point B, but we’re also part of the communities we serve, and we reflect what’s going on in those communities,” said Armando Sandoval, BART’s Crisis Intervention Training Coordinator and Community Outreach Liaison. “Pre-Covid, many people in our area were homeless or struggling with mental health or addiction. Now there are even more stressors.”
 
BPD has seen more than a decade of significant reform since the death of Oscar Grant in 2009, which presaged the nationwide reckoning over policing that disproportionately affects minorities. Current events demand renewed attention, and we will be actively listening to your ideas. 
 
Participation in this survey is voluntary. The survey includes questions on your opinion and demographics. Information provided in the survey will be used to evaluate BART products and services. Data will be reported in aggregate. BART takes appropriate precautions to protect respondent-provided information and keep data secure.