Pubdate: Sat, 11 Feb 2006
Source: New West News Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2006 New West News Leader
Author: Jeff Nagel


SkyTrain's armed Transit Police arrested 21 suspects for drug offences
and another 37 wanted in other jurisdictions in their first month
since taking on new roles, uniforms and firearms.

Special constables had been patrolling the system since 2004 but they
had not been able to execute arrest warrants or go after drug dealers.

That's changed - as demonstrated in the December statistics released
this week.

"We had a number of drug incidents and a number of warrant arrests -
those are now part of our toolbox," said Transit Police Inspector Dan

Constables arrested 26 suspects wanted by municipal forces and 11 more
wanted by the RCMP, and helped other police jurisdictions on 39 more

The Transit Police dealt with 15 cases of assault, 21 of mischief, 24
of causing a disturbance, nine cases of breach of probation, 47 drunks
and 16 Liquor Act violations, according to the December statistics.

Officers also seized two prohibited weapons and three more weapons
being carried contrary to a court order.

Many of those statistics are typical of what constables dealt with
prior to the launch of the new service Dec. 4, said Dureau.

"Our guys are as busy as they ever were," he said.

"Some people seem to think there was some magic wand that was waved,"
he said, adding much of the change is of visibility and perception.

Because officers are more clearly marked as 'Police', he said, people
are more willing to identify themselves and cooperate than previously.

"There were people who knew the system and didn't feel they had to
identify themselves to someone who wasn't a police officer," he said.

Officers are also now empowered to seize stolen property and to leave
TransLink property to patrol in the community and in pursuit of suspects.

They're also expected to increasingly conduct joint operations with
other police forces.

Dureau said the revamped Transit Police are getting a warm welcome
from commuters on SkyTrain.

"People are very happy to see us out there," he said. "I think there's
a perception of better safety and security."

The Transit Police service is budgeted to cost $13 million this year,
expected to help add 21 new positions, counting both officers and civilians.

That's to boost the number of officers from 75 now to more than 80.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake