OAKLAND (KCBS) – Police departments around the Bay Area are short-staffed, but the recent takeover robbery of a BART train car has raised new questions about the urgency of boosting the transit agency police force.

When as many as 50 would-be robbers swarmed a BART train car at Coliseum station last weekend, a station agent called police.

BART officers arrived in five minutes, which BART board president Rebecca Saltzman says was not quickly enough to immediately capture any suspects.

“Since we have a limited amount of officers, they look at how to be the most strategic with the resources they have,” Saltzman told KCBS.

That means using cameras, relying on station agents and passengers to report trouble, and working with police in the cities BART serves.

As for that limited number of officers, Saltzman says BART needs to fill about 30 positions.

“We’ve had some difficulty recruiting police officers. It’s competitive here in the Bay Area, so I think that’s something we need to look at, in terms of getting our department fully staffed,” Satlzman said. “We’re not the only ones struggling with that.”

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