DART Chief To Ask Board To Hire More Officers

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – DART police chief J.D. Spiller will ask DART board members on Tuesday to hire several dozen new officers for the 2013 budget year, which will begin in October.

DART recently increased security on trains and buses system wide following four violent incidents since November in which 3 people have died.

DART spokesman Morgan Lyons says the move is necessary. “Part of that is because the system is continuing to grow, but part of it is what we’re doing now is covering a lot of additional areas with officers on overtime, and with security officers.”

For the foreseeable future, Lyons says DART will continue to have police officers, fare enforcement officers, and private security guards on every train and rail station.

Customer Monique Wesley says adding even more officers onto the trains gives her a sense of security. “I think it’s a great idea. The more, the better.”

Garland city councilwoman Laura Perkins Cox says she’s encouraged by the police chief’s request.  She says she and her nine -year-old daughter had a frightening encounter last month when they took the DART train from Dallas back to Garland and got off at the downtown station.  “A couple of teenage boys approached us and aggressively asked for our day passes, and I said no thank-you. They cursed at us, and I said to my daughter, you just keep going.”

At a city council meeting February 20, councilwoman Cox told Spiller and DART executive director Gary Thomas what had happened to them.   “It was frightening for my little girls.”

Thomas promised her to clean up the stations.

CBS 11 did see a number of uniformed police officers and security guards when we went to the downtown Garland rail station Thursday afternoon.

In 2005, DART had 160 police officers.  The agency increased the number of officers to 230 in 2010 when it expanded the light rail system from 44 to 72 miles.

DART’s rail line will grow further to 85 miles by the end of this year, and will expand to 90 miles in 2014.

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One Comment

  1. tyuielethd says:

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  2. Jeff says:

    For now, this is a great idea. But what happens when someone’s department budget is cut? What happens when crime decreases “here” and these resources are then directed to somewhere else?

    I applaud the temporary efforts, but this is a band-aid at best for an underlying problem.

  3. CCM says:

    MAYBE a great idea. Question is, what kind of initial weapons training do these officers receive? Are they required to qualify periodically on the range? Remember, officer Manderson fired multiple (5?) shots at close range, hitting an innocent by-stander, and never hit the suspect in the Richardson shooting. Not very comforting.

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