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25 Self-defense training using a self-defense tool--This actively encourage operators to report assaults, and most training is not provided by most of the responding agen- respondents, 82%, provide counseling. About half provide cies. One agency, Metro Transit in Minneapolis, indi- trained supervisors to assist operators who have been vic- cated that pepper spray training is available upon request. tims of assaults. Forty-two percent provide legal support, One hundred of its 1,400 operators have requested with larger and midsize agency respondents more likely to and undergone the training. Another agency, Houston provide such support. Legal support is important in the pros- METRO, which did not participate in the survey but is ecution of the offender. It is important that the assault victim included in the profiles in chapter five, issues pepper gel be informed of the legal process, including the timeline of the and provides associated training to its operators. Both hearings and how to prepare for court appearances, and be Texas and Minnesota have permissive "shall-issue" fire- kept apprised of relevant developments and the results of the arms laws for concealed carry. Several agencies that do process. Twenty-seven percent of responding agencies offer not provide self-defense training, with or without tools, work resumption plans. A work resumption plan tailors the noted that they believe that this type of training goes work schedule and conditions to the needs of the victim. For beyond the responsibilities of the bus operator. A TWU example, a physical injury may prevent the operator from representative supported this notion by noting that the driving but he or she may be allowed to do other work at the task of the bus operator is already complex, that any type agency until he or she has healed completely. of self-defense training would add to the complexity of the task, and that they should not be expected to perform Additional forms of assistance provided by the respon- law enforcement-type activities. dents included provision of medical or worker's compensa- Frequency of training--Respondents typically pro- tion assistance (which includes medical help and counsel- vided training on conflict mitigation, diversity, and self- ing), prosecution of offenders, employee assistance programs, defense without weapons at time of employment and critical incident support team of peers, pay for court time, periodically thereafter. For customer relations, respon- and stress management. One agency mentioned that it has a dents also noted that it was provided at time of employ- district attorney embedded in the agency. The district attor- ment, periodically thereafter, and when scheduled by ney works with the victims and provides 24-h access. Others supervision. Some agencies provide individual operators stated that the victims receive case progress updates and with refresher training when the situation warrants, as results when they become available. One respondent indi- determined by supervision. One agency noted that its cated that it provides plainclothes security and marked police training program is tailored to meet the needs of the oper- escorts when necessary for operators who return to work. ator. Another stated that operators involved in frequent Several respondents also cited the proactive measures their incidents (three or more in a 2-year period) are referred agencies take to prevent assaults. for further training. DATA COLLECTION AND REPORTING EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE Reporting to law enforcement and the National Transit Data- In the aftermath of an assault, the provision of appropriate and base is required for Part I and Part II assaults, including sim- comprehensive employee support can make a positive differ- ple assaults, aggravated assaults, sexual assaults, and homi- ence in the victim's overall recovery and ability to return to cides. For Part II assaults, incidents that result in an arrest are work, and lessen the impact of the assault on other employees. reportable. Survey respondents described a variety of ways in which assault data are collected and reported. Several agen- Transit agencies use different methods to support their bus cies noted that operator assaults are not tracked separately operators who have been assaulted. Larger agencies tend to and are combined with assaults on passengers. Concerns about have more comprehensive programs and more support staff to underreporting of nonphysical assaults were raised by some assist assault victims. However, all agencies realize the impor- of the respondents. tance of providing employee assistance in bolstering overall employee morale after an incident and providing a caring According to the respondents, the following data elements workplace for their employees. As shown in Table 6, most of were being collected by the agencies: the 62 respondents to this question, 92%, reported that they Date and time of the incident; TABLE 6 Description or type of incident; EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE Operator name; Assistance % Run/line; Encourage operators to report assaults 92 Seniority of the operator; Provision of counseling 82 Whether other incidents involving the operator had Trained supervisors assist operators 48 Provision of legal support 42 occurred; Implementation of work resumption plans 27 Assailant information; Total Responses 62 Police involvement (officer name, badge no.);