Calgary Transit rider Jeff Riddell would love to see a number of uniformed police officers trade their wheels for rails, and he might actually get his wish if an alderman has his way.
Riddell, 31, was happy to hear a proposal by Ward 8 Ald. John Mar in council yesterday that could potentially put the Calgary police in charge of the Calgary Transit security beat in the future.
“If we had enough police officers to do that, I think I would feel a lot safer, especially with all the crime,” Riddell said. “I would like to see them monitor buses somehow, too.”
Mar brought the idea to the attention of to his fellow aldermen, citing the need for a greater police presence while acknowledging several “tragedies” in and around platforms in the past.
Ward 10 Ald. Andre Chabot and Ward 5 Ald. Ray Jones both support the proposal, saying police officers already ride the rails in their northeast communities as a pilot project.
“I think because this has been so beneficial, it’s something worthy of consideration for the rest of the city,” Chabot said.
John Dooks, president of the Calgary Police Association, said Calgary police and Calgary Transit already work so closely together it just makes sense to combine them into one unit.
“It would be beneficial to work under the same umbrella of management and I think it’s necessary,” Dooks said, adding he isn’t sure how the details would be ironed out, but that it would be a dedicated unit.
“Criminals use the LRT to conduct their business, so a greater police presence would have many advantages,” Dooks said.
Spokesman Kevin Brookwell said Calgary police were asked by the city to conduct two feasibility reports in the past, and he believes they may be asked to update the last report, done in 2006.
“If directed by council or the commission, we would certainly do both. However, there is a cost associated and a number of officers needed to do that,” Brookwell said.