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28 have been lobbying for more stringent penalties. Other re- carry one. One agency reports that the tool must not be a sponses included the following: firearm or a blade longer than 4 in. The other agency indi- cated that operators who undergo the agency's pepper · Use of CompStat--CompStat is a crime management spray training are allowed to carry pepper spray as a self- tool that uses crime-mapping technology and analysis defense tool. Many agencies are concerned about the liabil- to identify areas of potential incidents and hotspots, and ity that they might face if an operator were to use the tool, assesses the effectiveness of various policing measures. even if it is used appropriately. Additionally, the unions · Suspension-of-service policy--CDTA bans offenders report that their members are not in favor of carrying self- from CDTA services. If the offense is serious enough, the defense tools, as they increase the complexity and responsi- offender may be banned permanently. The suspension- bility of a job that is already rife with complex tasks and of-service policy and other agency policies are discussed responsibilities. In the profile section on self-defense tools in in chapter six. chapter five, an agency that did not participate in the survey, · Bus operator committee--The Chicago Transport Au- Houston METRO, was identified as issuing a self-defense thority (CTA) has a bus operator assault committee com- tool--pepper gel canisters--to their bus operators. posed of bus operators, union officials, management, and police. They discuss assault statistics, locations of the assaults, the number of individuals in custody, and BUS OPERATOR SELECTION METHODS measures being taken to reduce the number of assaults. Hiring individuals suited for all aspects of the bus operator position can lessen the incidence of passenger assault. The Transit agencies and the ATU believe that tougher penalties position requires not only a good driving record but also for operator assaults deter assaults, although the TWU does excellent people and problem-solving skills, and the ability not. When asked about enhanced local or state statutes for to handle daily pressure and stress. Driving records are checked operator assaults, 52% of the respondents stated that their local laws provided more severe punishments for assaults against to ensure that the candidate has a clean driving record. Back- bus operators. As of the date of this report, 23 states and no ground checks are performed by agencies to screen out can- provinces currently have enhanced penalties for operator as- didates who have criminal records, outstanding warrants, or saults, and about a fifth of the respondents had indicated on a other factors that could affect their job performance. Agen- different question that they are currently lobbying for more cies also routinely conduct physicals and drug tests before stringent penalties. There were a total of 62 respondents to this candidates are hired, and random drug and alcohol tests are question. typically conducted after they have started their jobs to con- firm that the operators are still fit for duty. Note that U.S.DOT requires drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive trans- Self-Defense Tools portation employees, including bus operators, under the Omni- bus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (49 Code Oleoresin capsicum or OC, commonly known as pepper spray of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 40). FTA's rule 49 CFR or pepper gel, has been used by law enforcement since the Part 655 conforms to the U.S.DOT regulations. Drug and late 1980s. Because exposure to OC irritates the skin, eyes, alcohol testing is required in the following situations: rea- and the upper respiratory tract, it is considered to be gener- sonable suspicion and random, post-accident, and return-to- ally useful and effective in subduing violent individuals and duty/follow-up (periodic). Drug testing is also required, but stopping assailants. It is also regarded by the law enforce- alcohol testing is optional for preemployment screening. FTA ment community to be safer than other forms of less-than- Office of Safety and Security provides guidance for transit lethal options. Concentrations and use are limited on a state- agencies on the implementation of the testing program. by-state basis, and OC is prohibited in Canada. Though rare, in-custody deaths of asthmatics have occurred as a result of Many agencies conduct interviews; some indicated that the use of OC, and its effectiveness on mentally ill individu- they conduct a job aptitude test, video-based screening, and/or als and individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol a psychometric/personality test. Large agencies were more has been questioned. As of the date of this report, OC is the likely to conduct a psychometric/personality test than midsize only self-defense tool that is being issued to bus operators or or small agencies; because they have larger human resource for which training is provided by transit agencies, to the best budgets, larger agencies may be able to use additional screen- of the contractor team's knowledge. ing mechanisms to help them identify appropriate candidates. Of 61 agencies that had responded to the question regard- ing whether the agency issues self-defense tools to operators, IMPACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST OPERATORS 59 indicated that their agency does not issue self-defense tools to their operators and two noted that they were uncer- Operator assaults can have significant consequences for the tain regarding the issue. With respect to whether the agency victimized operators, for their coworkers and families, and for allows operators to carry any type of self-defense tool, two bus operations in the form of injury-related claims, absences, agencies out of 61 responded that they allow operators to diminished productivity, and union grievances. Operators