BART’s efforts to improve safety and security for riders are getting a major infusion funding thanks, in part, to Bay Area members of Congress. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded BART about $6.8 million in a grant to pay for continued police patrols on trains travelling through BART’s busiest stations, interoperable radio communications systems and for upgraded security cameras at Powell St., Civic Center and 16th St. stations.
“The grant provides an extra boost to the important steps we’re already taking to improve the safety and security of BART riders,” said BART General Manager Grace Crunican. “We’re very grateful for the help of the Bay Area Congressional Delegation, led by Representative Eric Swalwell, in obtaining this much needed funding. Time and again Representative Swalwell has recognized the critical security needs of BART and made sure the Bay Area gets its fair share of federal grants.”
The Transit Security Grant funds will sustain the continued deployment of BART’s Critical Asset Patrol (CAP) for the period of this grant. The CAP Team consists of seven officers and one sergeant who provide a visible presence on trains, especially during peak passenger travel times including special events. Each member is trained as a Terrorism Liaison Officer and collaborates with other law enforcement agencies. BART launched the CAP team in 2011.
These funds will also fund the conversion of analog cameras at 16th St. to modern digital cameras, aligning them with existing digital technology at other downtown stations. BART has more than 4,000 cameras on trains and in stations and is moving to integrate and modernize the entire security system. This modernization was a key component of the Safety and Security Action Plan BART’s General Manager presented to the Board of Directors at the August 6, 2018 meeting.
BART will also receive funding to install radio equipment to connect its existing underground radio system to the regional radio systems in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. The radio connection will provide the ability for local first responders to maintain radio coverage on their own radios in the BART underground and to communicate directly with BART radios.