Transit security guards deliver safety stories for Edmontonians

At around 10 a.m. on a Monday morning in late March, at the Bay/Enterprise Square LRT Station in Edmonton, news didn’t happen.

A security guard, supporting Edmonton Transit Service, thought it wasn’t quite right that a boy was wandering around by himself. The guard notified the ETS Control Centre, where staff realized the boy had been reported missing to police. Transit Peace Officers arrived on scene, leading to the boy getting back to his family.

“This is a prime example of what we call our multi-layered safety framework in action,” said Carrie Hotton-MacDonald, Branch Manager, Edmonton Transit Service.

“Security guards play a valuable role in identifying and reporting onsite concerns for the ultimate benefit of Edmontonians.”

Edmontonians deserve to feel safe

Security guards now work at 19 select transit centres and LRT stations. They don’t have the authority of police or peace officers, but they play a visible role in delivering safety for transit riders and staff.

Security guards were added to many transit facilities in late 2018. They were noticed. Since they arrived, there has been a 480 percent increase in calls for service, including mischief, vandalism and suspicious behaviour.

“This significant increase in reporting is a good thing, and critical to the way we strategically deploy security resources,” said Hotton-MacDonald.

“Edmontonians deserve to feel safe in public spaces, including on transit.”

Transit Watch sign at Churchill LRT station. Riders can call or text the ETS Control Centre to report a concern.

Helpful voice

At Churchill LRT station in early March, a security guard noticed a woman who had walked into a restricted platform area near the train tracks. The woman seemed distressed. She told the security guard life was too hard and she couldn’t deal with it anymore.

The security guard called the ETS Control Centre. They notified incoming trains of the situation and advised them to slow down. The guard slowly talked the woman back to safety, offering her support and compassion.

“Edmontonians deserve to feel safe in public spaces, including on transit,” said Carrie Hotton-MacDonald, Branch Manager, Edmonton Transit Service.

Help at Kingsway, Northgate

Transit security guards are part of a team that protects people and property.

Early in April, a security guard at Kingsway Transit Centre saw a garbage can close to the station that had been lit on fire. The guard notified the Control Centre. Firefighters extinguished the flames.

In late February at Northgate Transit Centre, a female security guard helped a woman who was not dressed properly for the weather. It was 6 a.m. It was -16 C. The guard called the ETS Control Centre. She sat with the woman and put her own jacket on her to keep her warm until help arrived.

Thank you for service

Transit security guards have a job as important as it is difficult. Their actions make a difference.

“And they continue to serve on the front line during the pandemic,” said Hotton-MacDonald.

“Next time you see a security guard on transit, give them a nod, say hello, and thank them for their service.”

Security guards work for the ultimate benefit of Edmontonians, said Carrie Hotton-MacDonald, Branch Manager, Edmonton Transit Service.