DART adding armed security guards on its trains to help bring down recent rise in crime

DART officially has new armed security guards riding on its trains. That's in addition to its police force.

It's an effort to cut down on rising crime on its trains and at its stations.

DART has its own police department, which is made up of 252 officers. It’s now adding more than 100 armed security guards on top of that as they work to bring down crime.

For those who ride a DART train, chances are, they’ll now see a transit security officer on board to regulate unruly passengers.

"People who are misbehaving on a train or bus, they’re going to be there to, of course, remediate any questions or concerns," said Gordon Shattles, with DART.

DART says the rollout is in response to an increase in crime.

"We are starting to see those numbers come up, non-violent crimes, but violent crimes as well," Shattles said.


DART police increasing security to combat surge in crime on its trains

Cell phone video sent to FOX 4 appears to show a woman doing drugs on a DART train out in the open Thursday afternoon. This comes as FOX 4 has highlighted safety concerns, including a passenger being pistol-whipped last month.

FOX 4 previously reported that DART is seeing an increase in assaults, destruction/damage/vandalism, drugs, theft, robbery and violations in this year’s second quarter compared to last year.

It’s made some riders feel insecure on the train.

"They just really need to get these dope fiends off the train," DART rider Danyale Coleman said.

FOX 4 also recently reported on a man being pistol-whipped on a DART train, along with drug use out in the open.


FOX 4 viewer helps identify woman as DART ‘pistol-whipping’ suspect

The suspect's boss was the one to identify her. She called FOX 4 with the tip and then contacted DART police. That led to Kadejah Brown's arrest.

DART hopes the addition of more than 100 armed security officers, who will be in light blue shirts, will ease concerns.

"We’re currently under a one-year contact with this particular firm, and the total cost is $15.3 million," Shattles said.

[REPORTER: "For the taxpayers out there, if crime doesn’t improve, if they don’t start to feel safe after seeing these security officers on the train, what happens next?"]

"We actually do a quarterly look at all our police records," Shattles said.

DART said it will evaluate the plan and will decide whether to extend the contract, but Shattles said they are confident these security guards will improve the riding experience.

"People feel more secure. They don’t even have to worry about calling because they can notify that person right there on their train," he said.

DART said a majority of the officers are on the job, but it might not be for another month or so until they are fully staffed.

These officers are unable to arrest people.

Depending on the situation, they can either forcibly remove someone from a train or call DART police to make an arrest.