Management & Operations

Vancouver Transit Police Under Fire for Taser Use on Fare Evaders

Posted on June 5, 2008 by Metro Staff

  

The Greater Vancouver Transit Authority (TransLink) Police Service (GVTAPS) has come under fire for the use of tasers on the agency’s Skytrain service, because they were allegedly used on persons evading fares.

Documents released in April, indicated that tasers have been used 10 times in the past 18 months, including five times against riders that were trying to ride the system for free. The revelations have launched an external investigation into both the use of the tasers in these situations and the transit police force’s overall use of tasers.

In one instance, the documents showed that the taser was used when a passenger, who was riding without paying the fare, fled when confronted by transit police, while in another situation the taser was deployed because another suspected fare evader grabbed onto the platform railing and refused to let go.

A taser may be used when “the situation demands control over a non-compliant, suicidal, potentially violent or violent individual and lower force options were ineffective,” according to the transit police’s policy. GVTAPS officials were unavailable for comment about the situations or pending investigations; however, according to the documents each use of the taser was reviewed and found to be appropriate.

Other transit police forces equipped with tasers include the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (L.A. Metro). The agency provides them to officers along with training on each component, how to fire it and the policy regarding its use.

“Where the taser would fall in is what we’d call a high risk or combative situation,” explained Michael Burse, sergeant, training and scheduling, for Metro’s police force. “It wouldn’t be used on somebody who refuses to sign a citation. It has to be a situation where he’s resisting arrest to the level of physically engaging the deputy in a fight or a physical struggle.”

Burse added that, like GVTAPS, each use of the taser is reviewed. L.A. Metro police tasers have a small computer that stores information, such as how long it was used in a certain situation, which is downloaded and reviewed. The length of time used is measured in cycles, which are five-second time periods where the taser fires, according to Burse.

Ed Golden, captain of police operations at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), agrees with Burse that use of force on transit property is both rare and done only when absolutely necessary. DART police do not use tasers, however, they do use pepper spray.

“We usually go from verbal commands to a soft empty hand command where we just escort them. Usually about 90 percent of the time that’s all that is needed,” said Golden. “If we have to continue up the force continuum, then we’ll go to our pepper spray.”

Both Golden and Burse say that situations where pepper spray or tasers are deployed are few and far between, usually a couples times a month at most. Golden adds that DART has entertained the idea of using tasers.

“We haven’t seen a need for it, but like any other technology we’re continually looking at it to see if there’s development,” said Golden. “I don’t see DART going to a taser at this time.”

The GVTAPS investigation was still pending at press time.

 

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Waymo begins offering rides in self-driving cars

Waymo, Google's self-driving car project, and Fiat Chrysler haved teamed up to offer rides to the public so that it can get feedback on the experience.

King County Metro, Intersection extend advertising contract

The agency first tapped Intersection in 2005, when, operating as Titan, the company won a competitive contract granting the exclusive rights to sell advertising on its 1,400 buses and facilities

BAI Communications acquires inMOTION Wireless

In 2014, inMOTION was awarded an exclusive 22-year license by Boston’s MBTA to design, build, finance, and operate a multi-application high-speed network along the MBTA Commuter Rail System and on MBTA ferries.

Calif.'s Big Blue Bus rolls out mobile ticketing app

The program will be evaluated after a six-month period to determine whether customers feel that the app fare payment is beneficial, in addition to BBB staff determining the cost/benefit of adding the app to BBB’s suite of fare media products.

Pace mourns death of Bolton, former deputy exec. director

He passed away in the early hours of April 15, 2017, after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 69.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close