I am so disturbed and shocked by this article that I had to share it. KOMO News out of Seattle is reporting that a 15-year-old girl was viciously attacked in the Seattle Downtown Bus Tunnel while nearby security guards stood by and watched. According to the article, the officers said they are restricted by the transit authority's policy that restricts them from intervening in such situations. While these officers did radio for police assistance, they allowed the attack to happen.
Disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.
First of all, I'm sure these officers were following the letter of the law and I'm sure that, politically, that policy is there to protect the agency from liability. But, this scenario is incredibly damaging to the public's confidence. It sends the message that security is worthless, they're just bystanders and unable to offer any additional support and have no authority beyond the average citizen (except to ticket or fine you). As a matter of fact, they're actually restricted from helping people. I bet there's a lot of citizens out there who, if they had witnessed this situation, would've jumped in to stop it.
And, worse yet, this policy is actually causing a false sense of security. When I see someone in uniform, I assume that if something were to happen, they would help. That's their job, right?
As a result of this incident, the agency is considering changing it's policy. No kidding, huh? They're also debating whether or not to change a similar policy restricting bus drivers from intervening. Here's a similar crazy situation:
Two years ago, a bus driver wrestled a gunman to the ground and held him until police came. "Metro's reaction was to threaten to suspend the driver for intervening, while at the same time the police department and the county council were putting together awards for this gentleman," said Paul Bachtel, president of Metro Bus Driver's Union, Local 587. "Metro quickly backed off, but did put a letter in his file advising him not to intervene in the future."
However, I think there's a big difference between allowing bus drivers to intervene and security officers. Bus drivers are just suppose to drive the bus and shouldn't be charged with mitigating situations - that's security's job. Therefore, it's pretty important for the transit authority to give security the power to act, don't you think? Good grief, who's in charge here?