Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte will join the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) on Wednesday to sign a landmark agreement dedicating transit officers to Kansas City’s bus system.
The agreement between the KCATA and the Kansas City Police Department for the first time will give the KCATA two full-time police officers to safeguard the thousands who count on public transportation to get around.
The two new full-time officers will complement the 39 off-duty police officers, who provide up to 100 hours a week of protection depending on officer availability. Also, the KCATA will hire a full time public safety manager with a law enforcement background.
The new transit officers will give the KCATA the ability to immediately and rapidly respond around the clock to any incident.
“This will be a historic first for the KCATA,” said Sam Desue, chief operating officer for the KCATA. “While assaults represent just a fraction of the more than 15 million passenger trips taken each year, we are intent on protecting our passengers and drivers.”
Under the proposed agreement with the police department, the transit officers dedicated to the KCATA will be in police uniforms and patrol the bus system in Kansas City police cars. They will be responsible for the security of passengers and drivers on the buses and at transit stops, as well as the KCATA’s staff and property.
The transit officers will supplement the off-duty officers, who will continue providing protection for the riding public. This year, the KCATA will double the amount of money it will spend on overall bus security.
“Our bus system is safe,” Desue said. “Our bold, new agreement with the Kansas City Police Department illustrates our commitment to ensuring public transportation remains safe. It also sends a message that we will not tolerate any illegal activity on our buses.”