07/28/2000

INTRODUCING TRANSIT POLICE TO OTHER EMPLOYEES

Whether you provide safety for a large or small agency, transit police need to be involved in new employee orientation. Who we are, what we do and how we do it are three areas that should be covered.Explaining who we are is rather important, so starting off with the department's history will provide the ground work. Many transit police agencies started off as security and have fully changed over to police or have obtained full police status while maintaining a security force as well. Detailing the training an officer must complete is always a surprise as not many people know that transit police receive the same basic training as a city police officer. Explaining the size of the department as well as the various units within the department is also very informative."So what do you do? All I see transit police do is drive around all day." It's not uncommon to hear this from a bus driver! Now is not the time for the sales pitch line of "provides protection of properties, patrons, and employees." A better explanation is needed to include patrol duties, revenue protection, crime investigations and other duties you perform. Making them familiar with what you do lets them know that you're just not "driving around all day."So now that they know who you are and what you do, now it's time to explain how you do it. First, explain the patrol patterns of marked and unmarked units as well as uniform and plain clothes even while riding buses and trains. Next, explain the response to crime techniques used. Explain what crimes you can write a ticket for and which ones are responded to by an arrest. Be specific as to which crimes need to be viewed directly by transit police in order to write that ticket. This way the employees won't be upset when you don't write a ticket for every incident. Here again is another chance to explain your level of police powers being the same as a city police officer. Finally, if your agency allows it, offer the chance for a ride-along. This could give them first hand view of how things are done.By educating the transit employees of a transit police officer's duties and functions, we can gain many benefits. The biggest one will hopefully make the employees more comfortable in relying on us. It's easy to criticize someone when you do not know all about them so with this little bit of knowledge our work relationship will hopefully be better.

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