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BART Police’s Transit Ambassadors marked the program's first anniversary on Feb. 10.
The ambassadors' job involves addressing the needs of passengers on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains by offering free face masks, giving safety tips, providing directions and helping those in a crisis.
“Having additional uniformed personnel has been received very well by our riders and employees,” said Deputy Chief Angela Averiett, who heads the Bureau of Progressive Policing and Community Engagement, in a BART blog. Police Chief Ed Alvarez created the new unit last year.
Since the program's start, ambassadors have made primarily educational contacts totaling more than 12,000. They checked in with nearly 10,000 people on platforms and handed out more than 1,000 masks to people who needed one. In only 132 contacts they needed to contact police for assistance.
The ambassadors are part of the BART Police Department's effort to find new approaches, using unarmed personnel, to respond to people in a crisis, such as mental health emergencies, drug overdoses or homeless situations.