Translink Buzzer Blog

Category: Transit Police

Meet Your Transit Police: 5 things you might not know!

Cst. Avgerinos and Cst. Cheng speaking to a transit operator at Braid Station.

National Police Week is May 13–19! This week, police forces across from Canada are connecting with their communities and increasing awareness about the services they provide. Here on The Buzzer blog, we’re kicking off our new series, Meet Your Transit Police!

This will be a semi-regular series that profiles members of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, who ensure safety and security on and around the region’s public transportation system, including SkyTrain, bus, SeaBus and West Coast Express.

Metro Vancouver is home to Canada’s only public police force dedicated to transit with full provincial policing powers: Metro Vancouver Transit Police (MVTP). They’re responsible for a service area that crosses 21 municipalities and one First Nation, working to reduce crime and disorder through community policing and beat-style patrols.

Here are five things you might know about Transit Police!

They’re provincial police officers

Transit Police officers are designated provincial police officers. It means they have full police powers throughout the province of British Columbia, 24/7, on and off duty—the same as municipal police officers in British Columbia.

Dogs with jobs

The Transit Police Dog Service Unit, specializing in explosives detection, patrols the system. It’s just one of the many initiatives that keep the system safe!  The unit is comprised of four Labradors: Lucie, Cruiser, Kona and Diesel. They’re friendly and you are often welcome to pet them—just make sure you ask their human partner for permission first!

A photo of Transit Police constable Leanne Smith and police service dog Diesel

Cst. Leanne Smith with police service dog Diesel

On duty 24/7/365

The Metro Vancouver Transit Police Operations Centre is available 24/7/365, responding to non-emergency events texted to 87.77.77 and calls to 604.515.8300. Remember—in an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

Patrol operations are guided by intelligence reports and crime trend analysis. Transit Police also works closely with Transit Security on ensuring the safety and security of bus operators and passengers across Metro Vancouver.

Policing the moving city

Metro Vancouver Transit Police responds to incidents all over the transit system, and deploys foot patrols and mobile response units. Their work is guided by four operational priorities: reducing sexual offences, reducing frontline workplace assaults, helping vulnerable people in crisis and building system resiliency.

Transit Police patrols 144 kilometres of rail, 63 transit stations, the SeaBus, and more than 1,500 buses and 200 bus routes, spread out over 1,800 square kilometres.

Walking the beat

Did you know Transit Police officers usually patrol the same areas each day? It’s called walking the beat. This community-focused, holistic approach allows our Neighbourhood Police Officers (NPOs) to develop specialist knowledge of the areas they work in and understand the particular needs of each community.  This approach translates into a safer journey for all passengers and safer workplace for transit staff.

Over the coming months, we’ll be profiling members of Transit Police and all they to do keep our transit system safe!

Visit transitpolice.ca to learn more, or follow Transit Police on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

A conversation with Constable Leanne Smith, Transit Police Dog Handler

A photo of Transit Police constable Leanne Smith and police service dog Diesel

From a young age, Constable Leanne Smith, Police Dog Handler with Metro Vancouver Transit Police aspired to do the very job she does today. Cliché perhaps, but growing up with dogs of her own fostered an admiration and appreciation for the canine cop role.

Read more »

6 tips for staying safe on transit this Halloween from Transit Police

Halloween 2017

Happy Hallow’s Eve from all of us here at TransLink!

Halloween is a fun and exciting time for kids and adults alike and safety is paramount whether you’re heading out on foot, personal vehicle or via transit. The forecast is calling for a clear and dry evening of tricks and treats.

Our friends at Transit Police have six tips to help you stay safe on transit:

Read more »

Bike Patrol is ready to roll

Riding on the success of a 2015 pilot project, Transit Security’s Bike Patrol officers are back for a third season, acting as an important resource for Transit Operators, passengers and the public.

This year, the very visible Bike Patrol is once again based in downtown Vancouver with additional coverage expanding four out of every eight days to Scott Road, Surrey Central and Newton exchange.

  • Starting today, from May to September, officers will work various shifts between 11:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m.
  • A total of seven participants are CAN-bike certified, which includes backup relief
  • Bike Patrol will run rain or shine

Working together

This year’s team of seven trained General Security Patrol employees will work throughout downtown Vancouver and Surrey. It will be the first time that Transit Security Bike Patrol and Transit Police Neighbourhood Police Officers will be partnering in the Surrey area.

Security members receive a four-day bike-specific course to be CAN-bike certified, in addition to basic and advanced security training, and first-aid training. The training was designed for front-line security staff and was a combination of in-class and practical cycling training provided by Transit Police.

From left to right: Scott Arnold, Dale Mackie, Cst. Glover (Transit Police), Jeff Kim, Cst. Skelton (Transit Police), Matt Forshaw, and Nick Kellof. Missing from photo: Dave Partridge and Greg Gervais, returning 2016 Bike Patrol officers)

Putting our customers first

As always, our customers are important to us, and being on a bike allows Transit Security more opportunities to have meaningful, positive interactions with employees and the public. Having a more mobile security team also means they can easily travel on transit and can go places that are hard to access by vehicle. This means Transit Security can work more closely with the 42 bus routes that travel through the downtown core—boarding an average of more than 100 buses per day—attend to SeaBus and be proactive in security activities.

During the busy summer tourist season, Bike Patrol officers will also be an additional resource downtown to answer customer questions, and act as CMBC ambassadors. In-vehicle Transit Security officers will also be available, if required.

Please support our bike-riding, yellow-uniformed Transit Security officers with a friendly wave or hello when you see them. You’ll be happy you did.

More info:

Bike Patrol 2.0 hits the streets

An update from Bike Patrol

A ride-along with Transit Security: Training for Bike Patrol

 

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit Police took the plunge and were #FreezinForAReason!

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On Saturday, March 4th, 2017 our Transit Police Officers and civilians took the Plunge, The Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympics Canada.

This annual event takes place at Kitsilano beach in Vancouver, with the support of other police agencies and organizations, Polar Plunge participants are #FreezinForAReason raising money in support of adults and children with intellectual disabilities providing the opportunity to participate and excel in sporting activities.

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Transit Police have supported Special Olympics BC in a variety of ways over the past number of years, from fundraising through the BC Law Enforcement Torch Run, an overtime drive for personal donation by staff, an annual golf tournament and of course this event – the Polar Plunge.

Transit Police surpassed their fundraising goal for this event, however if you’re interested in giving back and supporting a great cause or learning more, check out the Transit Police Polar Plunge page.

 Author: Sarah Kertcher

TransLink receives Outstanding Employer Award for Take Your Kids to Work Day

2016 Outstanding EmployerEvery year, TransLink participates in Take your Kids to Work Day.

Kids aged 14 are invited to job shadow their parents or come along on a guided tour at BCRTC, CMBC and Transit Police to explore future workplace opportunities.

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Some of the grade nine students on the job for Take Your Kids to Work Day

This year we had 52 grade nine students take part in this event and it was a big success and not just the day!

The Canada’s Outstanding Employer Award recognizes employers for their outstanding performance and contribution to Take Our Kids to Work day activities.

Criteria for the award includes:

  • Promoting the importance of staying in school
  • Promoting pursuing post-secondary studies
  • Demonstrating creativity and innovation through engaging and exciting activities for visiting students
  • Supporting and explaining career choices and benefits of early career exploration

It was a very competitive process, but TransLink, along with 14 other outstanding organizations, stood out to the selections committee.

TransLink and its operating companies were chosen “For providing students with engaging and interactive opportunities to explore career options and learn about TransLink, Coast Mountain Bus Company, BCRTC and Transit Police as a future workplace. Students were given a tour of TransLink’s new Mark III train and received an in-depth look at technology that powers TransLink trains. They even got the opportunity to work with a K9 unit in Transit Police and the Fire Prevention Technicians that oversees fire prevention across the transit network.”

TransLink is honoured as an Enterprise to accept Canada’s Outstanding Employer 2016 Award for our participation in this annual event of fun, learning and exploring transit jobs.

We can’t wait until next year to host more eager students looking to get behind-the-scenes job experience in the world of public transit!

Author: Adrienne Coling

Transit Police tips for a safe and happy Halloween

Halloween is a great time for kids and adults alike!

It’s important with all the fun and frivolity that dressing as Star Lord and Cleopatra can bring that we keep ourselves safe on this spooky night!

Allow me to present tips from Transit Police for you to have a safe and happy Halloween!

  • Take extra care when choosing a Halloween costume.
    Prop swords and knives could be mistaken for the real thing. Think about how might this costume put your safety at risk? Best rule of thumb: if you’re unsure, leave it at home.
  • Consuming alcohol in public is illegal.
    This includes at SkyTrain stations and on-board buses, SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express. If you are on your way to an event and are carrying alcohol, be sure the container remains closed until you arrive at your destination.
  • See something? Say something.
    There are quick ways to report non-emergency police issues discreetly to Transit Police. You can text 87-77-77, use the OnDuty App or call 604-515-8300. In an emergency always call 911.
  • Stay alert to your surroundings while on public transit.
    As always, try to keep valuables out of sight from others and keep your eyes open! Don’t be distracted by your electronic device.
  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home.
    Make note of key times such as the last trip of the night! Check out the NightBus and SkyTrain schedules to make sure you don’t miss your ride home.
  • Set a meeting place.
    If you are travelling in a group, plan a meeting place ahead of time in case you get separated.
  • Be seen!
    Wear bright costumes or include reflective tape, glow sticks, or other articles that improve visibility.
  • Try face paint or make‐up instead of a mask.
    If you must wear a mask, enlarge the eyes for better vision and remove it when you are walking in and around stations and in busy pedestrian areas.

Happy Halloween!

Author: Adrienne Coling

BC Law Enforcement Memorial adds Special Constable to Honour Roll

Cst Walker at W 6th Ave & Moberly (2)

Constable Walker who, at 34 years of age, is the same age as Charles Painter at the time of his death, standing near the location of the shooting.

Transit Police as an organization is relatively new. Policing the transit network, however, dates back to the turn of the 20th century.

There have been thousands of men and women who have protected and supported the riders of transit and this is the story of one named Charles Painter. Special Constable Charles Painter, officer with the British Columbia Electric Railway Company, who was shot and killed in the line of duty in 1915.

One hundred and one years after this tragic event, Painter was recently added to the Honour Roll of the British Columbia Law Enforcement Memorial in Stanley Park.

Read on about this interesting piece of transit and transit police history!

In the early hours of Friday, March 19, 1915, while on duty in the area of the railway tracks at 6th Avenue and Willow Street, Vancouver, Special Constable Charles Painter spotted a man carrying a bundle of wire he believed to be stolen. While handcuffing the suspect following his arrest, a struggle took place during which the suspect grabbed Special Constable Painter’s revolver and shot him in the abdomen. The suspect ran from the area leaving the officer gravely wounded.

Special Constable Painter died several days later after providing a statement to police. Media reports at that time connected a man, later brought to trial in Seattle for a double murder, to the Vancouver shooting, but charges were never laid. Charles Painter was born in Ireland in 1881 and had served in the British Army before coming to Vancouver. He was single and had no known family at the time of his death so was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver. memorial_ribbon_lg

Constable Graham Walker of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police was curious about the history of transit policing in British Columbia and while conducting research, uncovered the murder of Special Constable Painter. Further research showed that his death was not recorded on the BC Law Enforcement Memorial Honour Roll although he qualified for inclusion. Discussions are underway with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police union to fund the engraving of a suitable headstone for Special Constable Painter’s grave.

While Metro Vancouver Transit Police may be only just over a decade old, it can trace its roots back to the turn of the 20th century. Research has unearthed a great deal of information about how policing of the hydro lines and transit in those early days of the last century evolved into our modern day police service. Thanks to Constable Walker and his research, we are learning more about the evolution of the transit police organization.

The British Columbia Law Enforcement Memorial was held on September 25, 2016 at Brockton Oval in Stanley Park.

We honour Special Constable Painter and all of the law enforcement officers who keep us safe on and around transit and in our communities.

Transit Police travels with you on your mobile device

See something? Say something.

See something? Say something.

Whether you are on SeaBus, West Coast Express, SkyTrain or buses, Metro Vancouver Transit Police is right there with you!

Our unique police service has a brand new mobile-friendly website to make it even easier to say something, when you see something, all with your mobile phone.

By visiting transitpolice.ca you are able to discreetly report a non-emergency police issue, contact us, download the OnDuty app or text 87-77-77 and Transit Police takes each report they receive very seriously.

Check out the safety tips section to help keep yourself and your belongings safe while on transit.

Basically, visiting transitpolice.ca means that you have Transit Police in your pocket during your transit journey on all modes at all times.

You can help Transit Police keep transit safe.  If you see something, say something!

Author: Adrienne Coling (with files from Transit Police)

Name the new Transit Police dog

 

This puppy was one of the most fun subjects we’ve ever had the pleasure to work with!

Meet the newest member of the Transit Police. She’s a 10-months-old chocolate lab with amber eyes and a playful disposition. She joins three other dogs on the force, and her job will be to help sniff out suspicious packages left on the system.

I say ‘she’ because she doesn’t have a name yet. Think you have a great name for the newest member on the force? Well, here’s your chance to name her!

The Transit Police are asking students from K thru 12 to provide a name they think would be perfect for the puppy. The contest runs until February 12, 2016 at midnight.

The student who provides the winning name will win a visit to their school from the puppy and her police officer handler for a presentation, as well as a bag of special goodies.

Entries should be submitted to: namethepuppycontest@transitpolice.bc.ca

Celebrating 10 years of Transit Police

Main pic

A lot has changed since 1985!

The Transit Police are celebrating 10 years as a police service and 30 years serving the transit system.

Transit Police originates from the Special Provincial Constables of the BC Transit Security Service.

They were appointed just prior to the opening of the first SkyTrain line in December 1985.

1992 special constables

Special Constables in uniform – 1992

Several new constables were trained as the final five Expo Line SkyTrain stations were opened.

However, the constables were never intended to enforce non-transit related drug offences, execute outstanding warrants or incidents occurring just
outside of SkyTrain stations.

Clearly, there was a need for a separate policing agency for the system. So, as the transit system grew, so did the scope and responsibilities of these individuals.

The wheels started rolling towards becoming a full-fledged police service with a dispatch and police board in 2004 which resulted in the creation of Transit Police as we know them today!

The Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service (GVTAPS) officially rolled out December 4, 2005 as the first dedicated transit police service in Canada.

OnDuty app

Transit Police OnDuty app

After the launch, an E-Comm wide area radio system, a Police CAD dispatch system and a Public Records Information Management Environment (PRIME) system were implemented.

The next 10 years saw the establishment of a crime reduction unit, a dog service unit and the launch of both the SMS text reporting service as well as OnDuty App in 2013 and 2014 respectively, just to name a few initiatives.

I had the immense pleasure and opportunity to attend the Transit Police Academy last spring and learning the ins and outs of how this service is run still astounds me!

The Transit Police service is consistently working to keep our system safe and secure and working with local partners to help our community’s most vulnerable people.

Here are some photos of their celebration:

Thank you Transit Police for all you do and happy anniversary!

For more information on Transit Police, head to transitpolice.bc.ca.

Author: Adrienne Coling

8 Tips from Transit Police to keep you safe this Halloween

Photo credit: Nathan Walls

Boo! Halloween is just around the corner and as things get a bit spookier around Metro Vancouver, Transit Police wants to share a few tips on how to make sure you have a safe night out. Here are a few things to keep in mind this All Hallows Eve:

1) Take extra care when choosing a Halloween costume. Ask yourself, could this prop be easily mistaken for the real thing? If so, how might it put your safety at risk if the police are called? If in doubt, leave it at home.

2) Remember, consumption of liquor in public is illegal. This includes at SkyTrain stations and on-board buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus, If you are carrying liquor on transit, ensure it remains closed until you arrive at your private destination.

3)  See something? Say something. There are three easy ways to report non-emergency police issues discreetly to Transit Police: text 87-77-77, use the OnDuty App or call 604-515-8300. In an emergency always call 911.

4) Stay alert to your surroundings while on public transit. Keep valuables out of sight from others. Avoid being distracted by your electronic device.

5) Plan ahead for a safe ride home. Make note of key times such as the last trip of the night!

  • Check out the NightBus and SkyTrain schedules to make sure you don’t miss your ride home.

6) If travelling in a group, establish a meeting place just in case you are separated. 

7) Be visible. Wear bright costumes or include reflective tape, glow sticks, or other articles that improve visibility.

8) Use face paint or make‐up instead of a mask. If you must wear a mask, enlarge the eyes for better vision and push it back off your face when you are walking in and around train stations and in busy pedestrian areas.

Happy Halloween!

Author: Laura Tennant

Spot the Bus Barrier – the next step in the pilot begins

Look closely. There's a bus barrier on the bus!

Look closely. There’s a bus barrier on the bus!

 

As reported in the media here, here and here, we are working with BC Transit, Unifor 111, Unifor 333 and WorkSafeBC to determine the best design for a safety barrier that will be most effective in preventing assaults on CMBC Transit operators. Check out an earlier announcement on other measures we are taking to prevent operator assaults.

We know you must have some questions – here are five queries asked and answered:

What is a transit operator safety barrier?

Safety barriers are a physical barrier typically made of a hard and transparent material composed of plastic and/or glass. The barrier enables a physical separation between driver and passengers while providing clear sightlines and the ability to verbally communicate with passengers.

Why is CMBC trying out a pilot barrier program?

The safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. Assaults on operators are unacceptable, and can put the lives of many people at risk.

How are operators participating in the pilot?

We are providing operators with a first-hand opportunity to experience the barrier prototype and provide feedback on the design.Feedback from operators will be collected over the next six months and then analyzed. This information will be used tohelp refine the design of the barrier and determine the best approach in protecting our operators from physical attacks.

Where can I see the barrier prototype in service?

The bus will be driven at various times and on various routes.

How can customers provide feedback on the barrier prototype?

Customer feedback is being gathered through all the usual channels. If you have questions or comments to share, contact Customer Relations through the online form or by phone at          604-953-3040 on weekdays from 8 am until 8 pm.

 

Author: Angela Salehi

More about our SkyTrain system safety features

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

One of our SkyTrain Attendants helping out a customer at Lougheed Town Centre Station

Have you ever wondered about the yellow strip onboard SkyTrain? Wonder no more!

We are here to tell you more about the five main safety features on SkyTrain – the passenger silent alarm, speakerphone, designated waiting areas, emergency cabinets, and Transit Police‘s 87-77-77 non-emergency text reporting service.

Passenger Silent Alarm – also known as the Yellow Strip

The 'yellow strip' silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The ‘yellow strip’ silent alarm found on every window on SkyTrain

The passenger silent alarm is the yellow strip located on every window on-board our SkyTrain cars.

When pressed by passengers, it triggers an alarm at SkyTrain control alerting the Control Operator. A SkyTrain Attendant will board the train at the next attended station to investigate the situation.

Our attendants are trained to provide customer service, provide emergency response, troubleshooting train and station operations, and performing fare inspections.

To better assess the situation and determine an appropriate response, SkyTrain control has the ability to activate the speakerphones on-board and listen in on the activities in that car.

It’s important to note that pressing the yellow strip does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

Speakerphone

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors.

The SkyTrain speakerphone found on board all cars near the doors

The speakerphone is located inside each car near the doors and provides two-way voice communication with SkyTrain control operators for emergency assistance.

All the passenger needs to do is press the ‘red’ button on the speakerphone and they’ll be directly connected with SkyTrain control.

Activating the speakerphone does not stop the train or directly alert Transit Police.

During system-wide disruptions, passengers can use the speakerphone to communicate with SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Passengers should not force open SkyTrain doors as this is a dangerous practice. Portions of the track remain charged with 600 volts of power and the risk of electrocution is present even when the train is stopped.

Forcing SkyTrain doors open can lead to lengthier delays since, for the safety of passengers that have exited, power has to be shut down and then a safety sweep has to be conducted before the system can be powered back on.

Designated Waiting Areas and Emergency Cabinets

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

A designated waiting area and emergency cabinet at Sapperton Station

Designated Waiting Areas have enhanced lighting, red emergency telephones, a bench, and are monitored by closed-circuit television.

Emergency Cabinets are located on SkyTrain platforms and are equipped with a fire extinguisher and emergency train stop buttons along with a red emergency telephone.

Like our on-board speakerphone, the red emergency phone is a direct line to SkyTrain control for emergency assistance.

Pushing the emergency train stop button does not shut down power on the SkyTrain tracks, so passengers should never enter the track area even if the emergency stop has been pushed and the train has stopped.

87-77-77 Texting Service

Transit Police 87-77-77 Texting Service

Text 87.77.77

The Transit Police report-by-text (SMS) system allows passengers to discreetly report crime and suspicious activity on and related to transit without drawing attention to themselves.

Messages will be received immediately by Transit Police dispatchers and they will respond accordingly. They may dispatch an officer, ask the user to call 911 if it is an emergency, or refer them to other resources.

You can also use the Transit Police OnDuty app to report. Through its built-in text messaging function, users will be able to access the 87-77-77 service directly from the app.

There is no need to draw attention to yourself and you don’t have to wait to report crime on transit. The texting service is for discreet reporting across the transit system — not just on the SkyTrain.

Have any questions about our safety features? Ask away in the comments section and we’ll get you the answers!

Author: Allen Tung

Halloween safety tips from Transit Police

When taking part in Halloween festivities this weekend, Transit Police is reminding everyone to take a few precautions to ensure you enjoy the night safely.

Here are some tips:

  • Take extra care when choosing a Halloween costume. Ask yourself, could this prop be easily mistaken for the real thing? If so, how might it put your safety at risk if the police are called? If in doubt, leave it at home.

 

  • Consumption of liquor in public is illegal. This includes at SkyTrain stations and on-board buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBus, If you are carrying liquor on transit, ensure it remains closed until you arrive at your private destination.

 

  • Stay alert to your surroundings while on public transit. Keep valuables out of sight from others. Avoid being engrossed in your electronic device.

 

  • Plan ahead for a safe ride home. Make note of key times such as the last trip of the night. The last Expo Line train to King George Station leaves Waterfront Station at 1:16 am, Mondays through Saturdays, and at 12:15 am on Sundays and holidays. The last Canada Line train to Richmond-Brighouse Station departs Waterfront Station at 1:15 am, seven days a week.

 

  • If travelling in a group, establish a meeting place in the event you are separated. 

 

  • Be visible. Wear bright costumes or include reflective tape, glow sticks, or other articles that improve visibility.

 

  • Use face paint or make‐up instead of a mask. If you must wear a mask, enlarge the eyes for better vision and push it back off your face when you are walking in and around train stations, and in busy pedestrian areas.

Stay connected to Transit Police through the free OnDuty app. Report any suspicious events or safety concerns on public transit to Transit Police’s non-emergency line. Text 87‐77‐77 (standard carrier rates may apply) or call 604‐515‐8300. In emergencies, always call 911.

Author: Allen Tung