BART looks to bolster number of police on trains by approving significant pay increase to help recruit officers

June 21, 2023 – The BART Board of Directors has unanimously approved a new agreement that will increase police officer salaries to put the BART Police Department’s (BPD) pay on par with other Bay Area law enforcement agencies. Before the Board’s action, BPD officer salaries were 19% below the market average for 10 local comparable jurisdictions. The increase will better position BPD to recruit additional officers as well as retain current staff.

“This represents an important investment in safety and security on BART,” said BART General Manager Bob Powers. “It’s essential that the BART Police Department is competitive in recruiting officers. We know BART is a great place to work, but we’ve lagged behind some other peer law enforcement agencies in salaries. The new agreement levels the playing field – and we’ll put every new officer out patrolling the trains when they come on board.”

“BPD is fully committed to improving the customer experience on BART by maximizing our visible presence in the system,” said BART interim Police Chief Kevin Franklin. “Having more officers patrolling trains is already starting to make a difference and it’s something we want to expand as we invite more riders back to BART. . This will enhance our tiered approach to safety – unarmed personnel adept at de-escalation in conjunction with traditional sworn officers.”

The cost of filling the salary differential for sworn officers is about $8.54 million. That’s inclusive of fringe and other contractual adjustments as well as an already scheduled 2% salary increase. That means as of July 1, 2023, the top-step police officer hourly rate will increase from $55.12 to $67.38.

“The agreement has already made ripples throughout BPD. Several good officers who were thinking about leaving have decided to stay,” said BART Police Officers Association President Shane Reiss. “As BPD adds more officers, the department’s reliance on forced overtime will decrease. Departments like BPD that can offer a proper work-life balance are the ones best positioned to win officer recruitment battles with other agencies.”

BPD’s focus is to ensure the salary increase and other corresponding recruitment efforts will lead to a greater safety presence on the trains for BART riders. To improve presence on trains, BART will prioritize the deployment of new officers so that at least 50% of patrol officers are assigned to ride trains. BPD currently has 28 officer vacancies. All newly filled positions will result in additional officers patrolling trains.

When BPD fills its 28 officer vacancies the department will add an additional 448 patrol shifts per month and result in a 60% average increase in the number of sworn officers on trains during mornings and a 70% average increase during evenings. Also, it will more than double the number of sworn officers on trains during weekends, which takes on added importance as BART launches a new schedule in September that will boost weekend service so that no rider will wait more than 20 minutes for a scheduled train.

BPD has been continuing to aggressively recruit new and lateral officers with a $15,000 hiring bonus to join a progressive department with tremendous opportunities for advancement. Anyone interested in applying can go here to learn more.

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