The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is planning to bolster security over the next five years, including a 77-percent spending increase in security services next year and adding 65 full-time salaried positions in 2018-2019, 61 of them police.

According to The Dallas Morning News, many of the new positions are already filled due to an initiative to have a uniformed presence on every train. Gaps are currently filled by part-time security officers, and officials say that for the overtime DART is already paying, the agencies could fill the positions and provide training and benefits.

DART struggles to fulfill its promise of 100-percent coverage due, simply, to the need for officers to take breaks or to remove offenders from trains. DART officials said it would take more officers and around $1.8 million every year just to cover for the fare enforcement crew’s unpaid lunch breaks.

A University of North Texas study recommended DART add a rail-support division to the DART police, dividing the train network into sectors. The cost is projected to be $7.2 million, plus ongoing salaries for the 63 rail support officers, who would enable the train officer to stay on board after dealing with an offender and allow patrol officers to focus on the parts of the DART network that aren’t along rail lines.

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