British Columbia

8 new police officers to patrol Evergreen Line

More transit police officers are coming for the long-awaited Evergreen Line which starts to roll this Friday, despite earlier reports by TransLink that it would have to redeploy officers from other SkyTrain stations to monitor the new line.

TransLink's 2017 budget has the money for additional police officers after all

The last time Translink hired additional police officers was in 2010 for the opening of the Canada Line.

More transit police officers are coming for the long-awaited Evergreen Line which starts to roll this Friday, despite earlier reports by TransLink that it would have to redeploy officers from other SkyTrain stations to monitor the new line.

"We have received information that there is money in the 2017 TransLink budget for an additional eight officers for transit police," said TransLink spokeswoman Anne Drennan. 

"Our recruiting officers have been busy compiling lists of young officers from other departments and law enforcement agencies that have indicated interest to us, which means we would be able to hire them laterally.

In other words, we wouldn't have to spend either the time or the money with the full police academy training program."

Last Thursday, TransLink said there would be no additional police to patrol the 11-kilometre-long transit line and it would have to shuffle extra peak time personnel from other SkyTrain stations. 

That will still happen, according to Drennan, until the new officers are in place. 

"Come Dec. 2, not only will we be redeploying in order to deal with Evergreen Line issues until such time as we do have these additional officers on, we will bring in extra people to work if necessary," she said.

TransLink has a police force of 167 personnel and the last time more officers were hired was for the opening of the Canada Line in 2010. 

Need or no need?

Upon hearing the news last week that there would not be additional officers for the line, Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said he was surprised TransLink would not beef up its force for a significant expansion of the existing system.

If the Canada Line needed more police to protect it and keep passengers safe, then so should the Evergreen Line, Stewart reasoned.

However, Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation disagreed, saying there's no need for TransLink to hire more police.

The new Compass card system and fare gates, maintained Bateman, mean police officers no longer have to deal with fare infractions and should now be available to patrol the new line.

The Evergreen Line is a 11-kilometre stretch of SkyTrain that will provide a link between Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam. (City of Port Moody)

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