BART police add ‘patrol desks’ at Civic Center, Powell stations

The BART Police Department is making its presence more prominent at two San Francisco BART stations as the holiday shopping season starts to ramp up.

BART police officers or community service officers will be at “patrol desks” inside two of the transit agency’s stations with the most foot traffic — Civic Center and Powell stations.

Officials said officers will be at the desks at random times during the day at night where officers will be able to address any concerns from the public.

Lt. Ed Alvarez, who coordinated the implementation of the soft rollout of the patrol desks, said in a statement that were two main goals of the patrol desks:

“First, it’s friendly. We want people to feel like they can approach us, whether it’s asking directions or just saying hello.”

Alvarez added that the presence of BART officers inside both stations is a deterrent to crime. He especially pointed out at Powell Station, where tourists from around the world come to the Bay Area during the holiday season, could be targets from panhandlers or those trying to sell fake fare tickets.

The Civic Center Station is another popular destination for riders who might stop at museums, theaters or attending a concert, BART officials said.

Officers will not be at the desk full-time, but will spend time at the desk as part of their regular patrol shift.

If the patrol desks and are successful and well received by the public, the patrol desks could be added to other transit stations in the future, transit officials said.

Transit officials are planning the patrol desks at the Civic Center and Powell stations as long-term additions to the stations as long as the public reception is good and work as intended.