BART Government and Community Relations Department Director Rodd Lee had some news at Thursday’s BART Board meeting: “We plan to add 20 new crisis intervention specialists.”
Those crisis intervention specialists are trained social workers who will join sworn BART officers as they respond on calls.
This expands a pilot program launched last year, which placed ten community ambassadors aboard BART trains to respond to quality of life issues, and alert police if needed.
A recent survey showed a majority of BART employees and riders think that these specialists, not police, should respond to calls concerning homelessness and behavioral health.
BART Police responded to over 23,000 calls last year for people needing wellbeing and medical assistance. In contrast, fewer than 5,000 calls were in response to criminal activity.