MARTA police to place officers on every train


ATLANTA - MARTA’s new CEO wants to put officers on every train, but parts of the plan are not sitting well with officers.

Rider Robert Briggs said he rarely sees officers on his train, but a new internal memo sent by MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham reveals that she seeks to change that.

Dunham told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas it is time for the department to get back to basics.

“When I first came on, it was ingrained in us that customer service was our focus,” Dunham said.

Dunham admits some of the changes in the memo did not go over well, especially the line quoting MARTA's new chief administrative officer saying that police should concentrate 90 percent of their time on customer service and 10 percent on law enforcement.

“Officers think that we are going to take their police powers away and we want them to sing Kumbaya with the customers,” Dunham said.

Dunham said that is not the case, but she does want officers to be more visible, more mobile and always helping customers.

Many MARTA riders have the same complaint about the train system.

“(I see panhandlers a lot), they are very prevalent,” rider Dennis Webb said.

Beginning immediately, officers will be placed on every train looking for panhandlers.

Passengers said they will wait and see if there is any change.

“I don’t rely on MARTA and I don’t have any reliability in them,” one passenger said.

Near the end of the memo, Dunham also said that while there are no plans for outsourcing, MARTA is looking at ways to improve efficiency. She told officers that now is the time to show the administration MARTA can remain an asset.