LOOKING FOR WORK? BART is looking to boost its presence of unarmed staff to assist with well-being and medical incidents.
- 2020 data shows, while BART police responded to thousands of calls last year, almost 40% of them were related to well-being and medical assistance, not crime, which was only 8% of overall dispatches.
ED ALVAREZ: We took the national conversation seriously on what reimagining of policing would look like moving forward, as a result of some of the incidents that happened across this country. So we started looking at, how can we do things better at BART to help with the crises that are going on-- the mental health, the drug use, and homelessness?
- The idea is to boost the unarmed presence within BART, so the agency is hiring transit ambassadors and crisis intervention specialists. Ambassadors have been patrolling trains and stations and offering rider customer service since last February. The crisis intervention specialists are 20 new positions created for outreach.
ED ALVAREZ: A police officer might not be needed to handle that call. Just could be somebody that's looking for a resource, a shelter for that night, for that week, that possibly needs medication, things like that. So why not bring the professionals that know about that into our system to help take care of those calls for us?
- The starting salary for a crisis intervention specialist is between $80,000 and just under $100,000 a year based on experience. For transit ambassadors, it's between $55,000 and $70,000 a year. Chief Alvarez hopes to have the positions filled by mid to late summer. And here's some more information on the qualifications for our crisis intervention specialists. You need a bachelor's degree and at least two years of experience in social work. That's required. For a transit ambassador is a high school diploma and/or a GED and customer service skills.