New security force to patrol Seattle Transit tunnel

New security force to patrol Seattle Transit tunnel

Credit: KING

A video still taken from a surveillance tape showing the graphic beating of a teenage girl in Seattle's Metro bus tunnel, while uniformed security guards simply look on.

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by KING5.com

KING5.com

Posted on March 11, 2010 at 2:05 PM

SEATTLE - King County has hired a new security company to patrol the downtown Seattle Transit tunnel.

County Executive Dow Constantine announced the job will now go to Securitas Security Services USA.

The change comes in the wake of KING5 Investigators' report on a surveillance video showing a teenage girl being beaten and robbed in one of the tunnels as unarmed, private security officers looked on.

The guards were not trained police officers or Metro Transit employees. They're contract workers from Olympic Security Services out of Tukwila. According to their contract, the guards are to "observe and report" problems, not to get involved.

After the Investigators' report, Metro Transit general manager Kevin Desmond said replacing Olympic Security Services would be the best way to restore transit riders' confidence.

In his press release today, County Executive Constantine said, "These guards are Metro's eyes and ears, and with this change we can have higher expectations of them in their ability to deter bad behavior."

Security's guards already patrol Sound Transit's Link Light Rail trains.

Constantine says the new guards will be fully trained in a range of tactics designed to defuse incidents. They'll "intervene in disputes when doing so will not put others at risk," according to the press release.

The new security team will be phased in over a 45-day period beginning next month. Olympic Security guards will continue to provide security in the tunnel during the transition.

Olympic guards have now been given additional training to allow them to get involved in some situations and will continue to be used to carry out other, "more limited security tasks."

 

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