SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco police officers may soon be teaming up with transit cops to crackdown on drug use inside the city’s BART stations.
It’s a move currently under consideration by acting San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell following reports by KPIX 5 on the rampant drug use at San Francisco’s Civic Center BART station.
Bevan Dufty is a member of the BART Board Of Directors. He says the drug use is impacting weekend and night ridership on BART into the city.
“The reality is, we cannot operate this system if we’re losing riders and the riders got other choices right now,” he said. “The reality is that it’s affecting our bottom line. You know, a 4 percent reduction in BART’s ridership on nights and weekends is gonna blow a huge hole in our budget.”
Farrell met with BART and San Francisco police officials last week to discuss what can be done to crack down on the drug use.
“BART’s doing a lot to address it, but it’s not meeting the expectations of residents, of visitors and we need to do better,” he said.
Dufty said drug users often play a game of cat and mouse with San Francisco and BART police.
“The cops, if they’re working upstairs, they’re moving the problem downstairs,” he said. “If BART police is in the hallway, they’re moving people upstairs… Right now there’s no coordination between San Francisco and BART police. They’re in their two different worlds.”
Without communication and coordination, Dufty said, drug users quickly can change locations.
“It’s a ten minute situation,” he said. “It can be clear in 10 minutes and then all of a sudden five or 10 other people have just bought their drugs upstairs and they’ve come down and they’re gonna use it. I think that’s why fixed post (of officers) is the only thing that’s going to make a difference, if you have a consistent presence of officers down there.”
Gil Lopez oversees BART officers in the San Francisco stations.
“Here in downtown, specifically, we have …essentially two officers for two stations,” he said.
Farrell said he’s working on changing that.
:Residents shoulnd’t have to deal with what departments is doing what,” he said. “They should expect results.”