Two DART police officers who have been with the agency for more than 20 years share their thoughts on how the addition of light rail service changed their duties.
Rivera: Impact of Light Rail Enormous
“When I was hired in 1991, our police department had no office building. Officers would report to work and meet either in the lobby of the East Dallas Division or on the trunks of our Ford Taurus squad cars.
The first line of rail was highly anticipated. Officers were assigned to monitor the build-out from Pearl to Illinois. Police had a small shack built for them at the end of the line, which at that time was the Illinois Station.
Soon after the first line, DART expanded rail service and police had to increase in numbers as well to meet the demands for keeping our customers and our system safe.
The impact of light rail has been enormous. Customers from all over North Texas have the ability to travel just about anywhere utilizing DART.
I certainly have great memories of how DART and the police department have evolved in what seems to be such a short period of time. Most of all, I have enjoyed experiencing the teamwork DART employees have demonstrated time and again.”
– Javier Rivera
DART Police Lieutenant
Plunk: I Love Being a Part of DART
“I began working for DART Police in February 1995. It was certainly a challenge to learn bus routes and chase down all those calls for service. On top of that, we were all trying to stop the copper wire thefts that were occurring along the new rail build-out areas which presented a challenge as well.
As the first rail cars were put out onto the rail system before service ever started, my partner and I were one of two, two-officer elements assigned to accompany any train that left the yard. I remember walking from the service and inspection facility as dusk approached accompanying a train during clearance testing.
We walked along the rail tracks all the way across the river to the 8th & Corinth Station fighting off mosquitoes that looked big enough to wear a saddle!
Over the years, I have truly enjoyed being a part of the rail build-out and seeing the positive impact that our bus and rail service has had on the communities we serve. The transit-oriented development along the rail lines has been incredible! I love being a part of DART, and I especially have enjoyed the opportunity to serve with the police department for all of these years. I love serving the public and interacting with our customers and our employees. My career here has been filled with so many memorable experiences.”
– Sherri Plunk
DART Police Lieutenant