DENVER (KDVR) — TSA agents have begun patrolling Denver’s Union Station as part of heightened security at the transportation depot, where concerned transit employees have reported “lawless” behavior.
RTD said the agents are part of the administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams and started patrols this week.
After our story aired, A TSA spokesperson told FOX31:
“TSA VIPR teams wear official uniforms, clearly marked and overt. This is in congruence with the mission to provide a visible deterrent in transportation systems nationwide.”
The new measures are coming after demands were made by bus train employees, saying drug use and violence are out of control. On Wednesday, the union representing RTD workers and contractors described the tourist hotspot as a “lawless hellhole.”
Soon, the Colorado Guardian angels will also be patrolling Union Station.
The Colorado Guardian Angels describe themselves as “an all-volunteer organization that works with neighborhoods and individuals to make their community and themselves safe.” They will be wearing their traditional red berets as they patrol.
“We are more concerned about violent crime, serious things,” Guardian Angels Commander Robi Salo said. “We are not as concerned as somebody jaywalking or minor offenses. We are about public safety and making people feel safe.”
RTD said Thursday there have been major concerns at Union Station for some time now, and there is an active effort to improve safety there.
On Thursday, FOX31 cameras captured law enforcement officers chasing a man walking on the tracks. They were also removing people sleeping on sidewalks.
Tourist Jennae Sims said she became concerned when she saw people acting strangely.
“I had my son with me. He’s 4. And you want to be very mindful of their exposure and their interactions,” Sims said.
It is believed the uptick in problems started after many drug offenses became misdemeanors. Police can only issue citations in some cases. According to the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1001, which represents 2,000 RTD employees and contractors, employees say drug use impacts their daily safety on the job.
“I had another operator tell me that she considers it a great day when nobody is seen smoking methamphetamine or using heroin on her bus,” President Lance Logenbohn said.
The other problem is that RTD, like many other agencies, have a police shortage.
All eyes are now on whether these latest security efforts will make a difference.