BART secures federal grant for anti-terrorist police patrol team

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BART secured a $1.7 million grant to pay for continued police patrols, according to a press release by BART on Wednesday.

The grant was first awarded to BART in 2011, and BART has reapplied for its renewal every year since then, according to BART spokesperson Alicia Trost. The money was granted again this year after eight members of Congress from the Bay Area, led by Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, lobbied the Federal Emergency Management Agency to secure more funding for police patrols. The grant will be used to maintain the Critical Asset Patrol, or CAP, team.

According to Trost, each member of the CAP team is a “Terrorism Liaison officer” and all are qualified “primary/secondary radiological nuclear detectionists.” Trost said in an email that this means they undergo special training from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the state Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. They are dedicated mainly to crowded underground stations within San Francisco, particularly in the downtown area.

“These funds are essential to our efforts to boost riders’ sense of security and prevent crime from occurring in our system,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers in the press release.

Along with the CAP team, Powers said, BART continues to search for 19 new regular BART police officers — a change that Trost said in an email was “prioritized in this year’s budget.” According to Trost, had BART not secured this grant, the hiring of a CAP team would have had to come out of the organization’s regular hiring budget of $2.1 million.

The CAP team consists of eight members in total — one sergeant and seven officers.

“The General Manager has made it one of his top priorities to have a fully staffed police department with increased police presence, this grant helps BART work towards that goal,” Trost said in an email. “This team helps keep BART safe because they spend the majority of their time onboard trains within the critical asset corridor of underground downtown San Francisco stations to prevent incidents of significant security concerns and destruction of BART properties.”

Contact Lev Gordon-Feierabend at [email protected].