The Regional Transportation District would cancel its contact with Allied Universal Security and hire outreach workers under a proposed resolution that cites concern about security officers' run-ins with several disadvantaged groups.
According to a report by Mass Transit Magazine, the move would be among the most drastic steps taken by a U.S. transit agency in response to activists' nationwide calls to defund police. The resolution cites concern about security officers' run-ins with the homeless, people of color and other disadvantaged groups, and it would direct RTD to hire outreach workers -- including professionals with mental-health training -- to replace them.
The resolution would set in motion the termination of Allied's $22 million annual contract by the end of the year and the ending of agreements allowing officers with metro police departments to moonlight as security guards for RTD, notes Mass Transit. "The transit system uses around 600 outside armed, uniformed officers, and the proposal would leave armed security to RTD's dozen or so in-house transit police officers. The proposal, if approved, also would kick off a two-year working group to evaluate RTD's approach to security and recommend alternatives. Depending on that guidance, it would direct RTD leaders to use the estimated $27 million spent each year on outside security for "the expansion of mental, behavioral, and social supports, such as social workers, medical professionals, homeless outreach workers, transit ambassador/conductors, and any additional support identified, to respond to constituent interactions."
Director Shontel Lewis, says Mass Transit, said she was motivated not only by the severe beating of Raverro Stinnett inside a Union Station bathroom in 2018, but also by this summer's demonstrations calling for law enforcement reform.