DART Working With "Reasonable, Affordable" Number of Police, Fare Enforcement Officers

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DART Police Chief Spiller
Last night, on WFAA, Byron Harris reported: "DART says it doesn't have enough police to put an officer on every train, but it is trying to place uniformed officers on platforms, where they can be seen." But then, this morning, this from The Dallas Morning News: "'Effective today, there's a uniformed presence on every single train we're running,' DART Executive Director Gary Thomas told the Garland City Council on Monday night." By which he means: police or fare-enforcement officer or security guard.

[Update at 9:25 a.m.: I asked DART spokesman Morgan Lyons to reconcile those two accounts. He says, "The uniformed presence is correct. They're not all DART police officers. There are 140 total staff dedicated to this. It's a mixture of DART police, fare-enforcement officers and security officers. To do that we've redeployed some officers, and there's some overtime. And during peak service, we operate 42 trains. We're gonna do this all day. Trains start at 5 in the morning and go till 1 in the morning, and it will not be every rail car, but every train. You may ride on a three-car train and not see an officer during your part of the trip, but they're on the train."]

Maybe the man in charge can clarify: For the second time in as many months, but for the first time since the Arapaho Center Station shootiings that left passenger Eric Johnson dead, DART Police Chief James Spiller will address the transit agency's Security, Safety, Public Relations & Operations Committee. Says the bare-bones agenda for the 2:30 sitdown downtown, "This briefing item will support the achievement of the Board Strategic Priority I: Strive to exceed customer expectations." But it's the supplemental-info agenda that provides the details, including a recap of the chief's January visit to DART HQ and the DART board's comments for Spiller, who's approaching his seventh year in command. The whole sum-up follows, including a pat on the back for Spiller's ability to generate revenue. But here's the nut graph:
Chief Spiller stated the number of officers at DART, based on a manpower allocation model created by Booze Allen Hamilton, should have been 680 sworn officers, plus 280 Fare Enforcement Officers. Based on budgetary constraints, those numbers cannot be accomplished by this agency. Chief Spiller advised he therefore came up with a reasonable, affordable number, noting that resources would sometimes have to be used instead of people. Approximately 30 staff positions per year are added.
The rest is below.
DART Police FY 2011 Police Activity Update and Future Plan of Operations
Chief James Spiller briefed the Committee (slides on file with the Office of Board Support) as follows ...

Mr. Danish requested statistics on paratransit safety and security. Chief Spiller advised he will provide a future briefing with the requested information.

Mr. Slagel requested statistics comparing the number of DART officers with the number of officers employed by similar agencies.

Ms. Wilkins noted she is pleased to see partnerships with the Dallas Police Department and Dallas Independent School District, and asked that Chief Spiller keep the Board apprised of ongoing initiatives. She further questioned DART's obligation relating to HOV lane enforcement. Chief Spiller responded DART has no obligation to TXDOT for any set amount of patrol hours.

Mr. Chrisman noted his pleasure with the fact that generated revenue is better than numbers posted in previous years. Chief Spiller noted he will keep the Board apprised of ongoing revenue generation. Mr. Chrisman also requested information relating to the amount DART has saved by not having to send officers to court.

Ms. Dunlop Gates voiced her observation that DART officers are patrolling the Fair Park area well, and asked the Chief to relay to his staff that their work is not going unnoticed. She opined that HOV enforcement is not the best use of a DART officer's time.

Mr. Tsao stated that an 80% safety goal seems reasonable based on the recent openings of new lines. He has viewed a downward crime trend and believes it to be based on police availability. Mr. Tsao requested the Chief's opinion as to whether or not DART needs more officers or policies. Chief Spiller stated the number of officers at DART, based on a manpower allocation model created by Booze Allen Hamilton, should have been 680 sworn officers, plus 280 Fare Enforcement Officers. Based on budgetary constraints, those numbers cannot be accomplished by this agency. Chief Spiller advised he therefore came up with a reasonable, affordable number, noting that resources would sometimes have to be used instead of people. Approximately 30 staff positions per year are added.


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18 comments
Shaun
Shaun

I think James Spiller is an Ass Hole.... He has Child that he do not care about in the city of Chicago... he has 2 ugly ass daughters in Texas one is a dyke and the other all fat and outta of shape....Now his daughter in Chicago is his oldest but she is not by his wife so he care not talk about it... even when she was born he didn't want to claim her... Now she grown he wants to try to be in her life but when she ask his punk ass for something he runs and hide don't want to pick up the phone... Anyway don't let this deadbeat ass daddy try to run a whole department when he can't leave up to his own personal duties... All I have written is true just find his daughter in Chicago and she will tell you about his Punk Ass!!!

Raylan
Raylan

I do not think DART police should be trusted at all. I tried out for the DART police in June.  I was turned off right away while waiting in line when officers came out to greet thier potential recruits or "buddies".  I completed the run in plenty of time as this disqualified over half the group.  Next was situps and I completed those fine and the officer observing me told me that was good and a few seconds later time was up for the group.  Then someone from the other corner of the room came over and advised me that the last two situps I did were not going to be counted.  I pointed out to him then why did the officer watching me say I was good and then I asked him why did he wait until time was up to disqualify me?  I could have easily did 2 more situps in that amount if time.  He advised the officer watching me to cut off my wristband and I was shown the door.  Atleast the officer that was watching me offered a "Sorry about that." on my way out.  Something fishy going on with recruiting down there.

Viper
Viper

On a train last Friday and watched a Dude and a wasted Chick have SEX all the way from the Parker Station in Plano down to the Park Lane station on the  Red Line... Great entertainment all for the price of a one way ticket

Marvin
Marvin

 based on a manpower allocation model created by Booze Allen HamiltonI looked it up, cause I thought maybe a guy named Booze was creating transpo models.  It's actually Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., a consulting firm.

25 year DART rider
25 year DART rider

I have seen a DART officer leaning against the handicapped ramp rail at the Akard Street station (outside DART headquarters) a couple of times.  I guess we have any handicapped perps under control.

Russp
Russp

Open up the HOV lanes to everyone creating an actual increase in road capacity and then DART police would be available to patrol the bus and train stations like transit cops in most cities.

Livable Perspective
Livable Perspective

They were out in full force this morning on the Orange/Red Line. It would be nice to seem this on a regular basis however security on trains does not generate as much revenue as HOV violation tickets.

TraneM
TraneM

dart has 240+ people making $75000 and up. As mentioned by others, they can afford to patrol HOV lanes. But our safety is not as important and can't be adequately funded.

james
james

dart has been throwing our tax $$$ around like rich jerk-offs for years. they spend spend spend on new high priced stuff. fancy new buses, fancy new cars, and how many $100,000+ per year office parasites .it's mostly financially challenged people who can't afford cars who ride dart. fuck poor people, they don't deserve anything anyway. it's ok to shoot 20% of them and send 'em to parkland. just don't mess with my dart executive pay package.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Chief Spiller makes me nervous-- isn't he the guy that blamed the uptick in crime on the poor economy (implying it was beyond his control) while at the same time ignoring the plunging crime rates in the jurisdictions DART serves (but patrolled by "real" cops from other police departments)?

Colin Z
Colin Z

I'm not sure what an "80% safety goal" is.  Does that mean if I ride a train or bus, I only have an 80% chance of not witnessing a felony?

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

They don't have enough officers to keep the trains and buses safe, but they have a huge fleet of patrol cars and write tickets on I-30.  Sounds about right for DART.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

The DART police department (along with the DFW Airport PD) was one of the early, large-scale adopters of the high-end Dodge Charger police vehicles. 

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

 You have an 80% chance of not having a felony committed against YOU.  The % of not witnessing a felony is far less ...

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

They must be there and not on 35. They could increase their budget quite a bit with revenues from fining all the HOV-abusing assholes from LBJ north.

james
james

they need a fast car to chase down those scofflaws who got on the hov lane by accident, or to chase down a speeding bus? all that tax money i pay out to keep these dart office parasites wealthy...keep those lazy assed donut eaters in a much nicer newer faster car than mine or my wife's....all to pay for a ride for a less fortunate person than myself...all the tax $$$ our government paid out to bail the auto builders and help buy everyone new cars...not meanin' to complain, but nobody pays for our car or our ride to work but us, and we resent the fuck outta payin' taxes for everyone else's ride. dart needs to charge its riders enough to pay for itself or close up and get yer incompetent wasteful ass outta my wallet.

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