Top 5 transit safety tips for students

If you’re heading off to school on transit by yourself for the first time next week – or you have a child who is – it can be a bit overwhelming. We hope these safety tips help you feel more confident in your journey.

  1. Know how to call for help – save our contact numbers in your mobile phone: 604.515.8300 for calls, and 87.77.77 for texts. Learn about security features on the transit system. Look for transit staff during your journey. Transit Police, SkyTrain Attendants and Canada Line Attendants are often found near ticket machines or on platforms.
  2. Be confident about where you’re going – plan your route. Leave early so you’re not rushed. Have another route ready as a backup in case there’s a delay on your primary route. Sign up for Transit Alerts.
  3. Keep your personal belongings safe – take your backpack off and put it at your feet. Keep any valuables securely hidden in your bag. Be careful with your phone and other devices, especially when standing near transit vehicle doors.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings –stay in well-lit areas. Keep one earbud out of your ear so you can hear what’s going on. If you see someone acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable, quietly move away – go to another part of the platform, sit closer to the bus driver, switch SkyTrain cars at the next station, etc. Share your concern with staff.
  5. Report problems – whether someone has touched you inappropriately, you see another person being harassed, you’re worried about the well-being of someone slumped over in a seat, or there’s something else causing you concern, please let us know. Text 87.77.77 and someone will respond right away.

Transit is a great way to get to school and back. We hope you enjoy your trip.

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Introducing Cst. Olson – Our Cops for Cancer Tour de Coast rider

Cst Eric Olson

Constable Eric Olson will be riding 800 km on his road bike along the Sea to Sky corridor and through other cities in Greater Vancouver this September as a participant in the Tour de Coast to support Cops for Cancer and raise funds for cancer research, especially pediatric cancer. We interviewed Cst. Olson to learn more about him.

What did you do before joining Metro Vancouver Transit Police?
I attended UBC in Vancouver to study Science and Kinesiology while playing Rugby for the Thunderbirds for three of my four years there. I worked several different full and part-time jobs through high school and university, including roofing, throwing hay bales, landscaping, automotive repair, and catering, before turning my eye to Policing in 2015. In the years before I started with Transit Police, I was working Security at a busy shopping centre in Surrey and for the BC Corrections Service at the Youth Custody Center in Burnaby.

What made you submit an application for the Tour de Coast?
I was inspired by Cops for Cancer all through my school years growing up. We would regularly hold fundraising events for the tour and cheer on the riders as they rode through the hallways. Cancer has touched several people close to me, and childhood cancer is the worst of all.

Also, I have trained and played sports my whole life, however have never formally “cycled” on a road bike. I loved the idea of taking on a new physical challenge and raising money for a great cause.

What are you looking forward to the most in your Cops for Cancer journey?
I’m looking forward to all the money we will raise that will support children and their families who are battling cancer, as well as funding crucial cancer research. With my science background, I found the presentation on the research they are currently conducting to be fascinating and exciting.
If you are willing/able to make a donation for this very worthwhile cause, please follow the link to my personal donation page.

What is the best part of working for Metro Vancouver Transit Police?
The best part of working for Transit Police are the people. I have a great partner and a great squad in D-East. Not everyone gets paid to hang out with their friends and arrest bad people, and I get to do both!

What is a career highlight so far?
A career highlight for me was completing the British Columbia Tactical Officer Course (ERT Basic) put on by the Abbotsford Police Department in January 2019! It was a ton of fun and I learned so much!

If you didn’t work in law enforcement, what career would you choose?
I’d like to think that I could have become a medic or pilot with the Canadian Forces, but I guess we’ll never know. I could also see myself having been a mechanic or a logger. I love working with my hands, being outdoors, and running chain saws.

How do you like to spend your time on your days off?
I love spending time riding my motorcycle, going hiking and camping, going to the gym, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Recommend one of each: book, movie, TV show.
Book – On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Movie – 21 Jump Street
TV Show – Forged in Fire

What’s an important topic that doesn’t get as much media attention as the mainstream ones like fentanyl or homelessness?

Organ donation. You can follow this link to register as an organ donor and also to check your status if you think you have already registered.

Important Information for a Safe Ride during Canada Day Celebrations and for the Canada Day Weekend

Metro Vancouver Transit Police are committed to ensuring that everyone has a safe ride on our transit system and reaches their destination safely. With Canada Day festivities scheduled in most municipalities over the long weekend, the trains and buses will be extremely busy and often filled to capacity.

While our officers will be on duty and highly visible throughout the transit system, we are asking the public to assist us in keeping our system safe. We ask that our passengers remain vigilant and report any problems or anything out of the ordinary to us……….See Something, Say Something. Enter our Text Code, 87 77 77 into your mobile devices so that you can report any issues to us, discreetly and in real time. This will give us the opportunity to deploy our officers quickly and efficiently. In an emergency, call 911, whenever possible.

Anyone choosing to take transit should consider the following:

Plan ahead

  • Make a note of the time of your last train, bus or SeaBus and leave enough time to get there to avoid being stranded. Check the Trip Planner on TransLink’s website.
  • When travelling with young children, hold their hand to prevent being separated from them.
  • If travelling in a group, agree on a meeting spot prior to travel in the event you are separated and mobile phones aren’t an option.

Be alert

  • Avoid being engrossed in your personal electronic device – consider removing one ear bud to stay in tune with what’s going on around you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and present yourself confidently on your journey.

Protect your belongings 

  • Keep purses secure and carry wallets in an inside pocket.
  • Have your Compass Card ready so your wallet is out of sight.
  • Keep all electronic devices close to you and, when not in use, out of sight.
  • Be especially vigilant when sitting or standing near doors.

Be safe

  • Make sure you are familiar with safety features throughout the system such as two-way intercoms and silent alarms (yellow strip) on trains.
  • Do not hesitate to use the red emergency phone located on train platforms to summon help from transit staff in an emergency.
  • Approach uniformed Metro Vancouver Transit Police officers, SkyTrain Attendants, Canada Line Attendants, SeaBus Attendants or Transit Security if you need assistance.
  • Be mindful of fast moving trains approaching stations – stay behind the yellow line.

Drink responsibly

  • Remember that consuming liquor in public, including while on transit or transit property, is against the law and carries with it a possible $230 fine.
  • Being intoxicated in public, including while on transit or transit property, is also against the law. Please enjoy events responsibly, keeping in mind your personal safety and the safety of others.

By working together, we can ensure that your experience on our transit system will be a safe one. Enjoy your weekend and Happy Canada Day!

Video: Trolley bus wire thieves put lives at risk. Learn how to keep yourself safe

When trolley bus wires get stolen, lives are put at risk. When thieves steal the wires that are used to keep Vancouver’s fleet of trolley buses moving, they can leave dangerous live wires dangling.

If you live or work in Vancouver, particularly in one of the “hot spots” shown in the video, help be our eyes and ears.

If you see any wires dangling:

  • Do not touch the downed wire
  • Stay at least 10 meters away and call 911.
  • Report suspicious activity to police
  • Don’t approach any suspicious people yourself.
  • Call the Transit Police tip line with information: 604.516.7419 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8474.

Together we can keep our communities safe.

Introducing Cst. Chua – Neighbourhood Police Officer for Surrey and Langley

This month, Constable Darren Chua takes over the role of Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) for Surrey, Langley, North Delta and White Rock. Cst. Chua will be replacing Cst. Mike Woolley who will be joining the patrol division. We interviewed Cst. Chua to learn more about him.

Q: How is the role of an NPO different from that of a patrol police officer?

A: As a Transit Police patrol officer, I was mostly doing beat-style patrol, assisting frontline transit staff and conducting fare enforcement. My role was largely reactive, responding to calls for service. In my NPO role, I get to be more proactive. I get to build meaningful relationships in the community, identify persistent crime trends and then pull those two aspects together to reduce crime.

Q: How did you begin your policing career?

A: I studied Criminology at Kwantlen University and discovered my interest in policing. So, at the tender age of 20, I applied for the RCMP, but was understandably deferred due to lack of life experience. I then switched over to Law Enforcement Studies at the Justice Institute of BC and began working as a jail guard at the Surrey RCMP cell block. Eventually, I was hired by the RCMP and served with them in Northern Manitoba before joining Metro Vancouver Transit Police in 2016.

Q: What is a career highlight so far?

A: A highlight has definitely been an auto crime project I worked on with my former patrol partner, Cst. James Gibson. Vehicles were being broken into and stolen in the vicinity of the Scott Road SkyTrain Station. Through our efforts in partnership with area business owners and the Surrey RCMP, over 50 stolen vehicles were recovered and several prolific auto crime offenders were charged.

Q: What do you like to do during your time away from work?

A: I’ve been bitten by the travel bug! On my days off you’ll often find me researching new destinations to explore. I’m currently seeking a good deal (I love good deals) to Japan and Singapore.

Q: What is the last good movie you saw?

A: Crazy Rich Asians. It’s currently my favourite rom-com. The wedding scene was so over the top, it was amazing.

Q: What are you looking forward to about working in Surrey, Langley North Delta and White Rock?

A: I was born and raised in Surrey, and have seen my city undergo a lot of positive changes. I’m excited to become a part of the rapid growth and innovation that the southeast region of Metro Vancouver is experiencing and will continue to experience with upcoming large-scale projects like the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain. I’m looking forward to taking a hands-on, active role in reducing crime while these changes are underway. And also the large variety of restaurants that I’ll get to explore on my lunch breaks!

Follow Cst. Darren Chua on Twitter

Neighbourhood Police Officers, L-R: Cst. Justin Biggs, Cst. Jenny Chung, Cst. Darren Chua, Cst. Julien Ponsioen, Cst. Bruce Shipley, Cst. Kirk Rattray

Transit Police invites you to take part in the 6th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Join us for the 6th annual Metro Vancouver Transit Police Charity Golf Tournament in support of Special Olympics BC athletes. On Monday, June 3, enjoy a day of golf, while helping to create a world of inclusion where every person is accepted regardless of ability.

Your $125 registration fee includes lunch and a banquet dinner featuring a silent auction, raffles and prizes.

To find out more about Special Olympics visit  www.specialolympics.bc.ca

For more information and to register, email
Jaemie.Valenzuela@transitpolice.bc.ca

Metro Vancouver Transit Police Officers in Profile: Meet Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne

On November 21, at the Canadian Urban Transit Association Conference in Toronto, Metro Vancouver Transit Police Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne will receive the 2018 Leadership Award in Excellence to acknowledge the benefits our transit system has gained thanks to her specialized expertise in graffiti on transit. We caught up with Wendy for an interview before she heads off into retirement at the end of this year.

Q: What is your role at Metro Vancouver Transit Police?

A: I am one of the Client Services Sergeants, a “Jack of all trades and a master of some”. We work on addressing identified issues and concerns that are reported by patrol members, our partners in jurisdictional policing and within the community, and TransLink Stakeholders. I have been very lucky to specialize and develop an in-depth knowledge on graffiti, safety education, and Crime Prevention through Environmental Design reporting.

Q: When did you first start working for transit in Metro Vancouver?

A: I started with the Metro Transit Security Service in early 1984 as a Transit Security Officer. I worked the graveyard shifts at the Carrall Street Garage, at the Cambie Street Garage, and the False Creek Transit Centre. Our first office was above the tire shop at the rear of the Oakridge Transit Centre with 4 Mobile Patrol Investigators and 4 plainclothes security, which I was one of. We moved to 1296 Station Street, across from Main Street Station after the Skytrain opened and then to 307 Columbia Street in New West before moving to our current headquarters in Sapperton.

I never would have dreamt as I worked at Expo 86 as one of the original Metro Vancouver Transit Special Provincial Constables that 35 years later I would be retiring as a Sergeant with Transit Police, a recognized and respected armed police force and Canada’s only Transit Police.

Q: How would you describe your career path?

A:  It has been an incredible journey of laughter, frustration, joy, pride and challenges.  Community policing and crime prevention have always been my passion and I was fortunate to be assigned to the position of the Client Services Sergeant in May 2012.  I could not be more proud of the fact that as I retire, my position has led to the creation and great success of the Neighbourhood Police Team.

Q: What is one highlight of your career?

A: A few years ago I was training a new bus operator class at Vancouver Transit Centre. After the class, one of the new operators called me aside. The operator said, “Wendy! Do you remember me?”  I didn’t, but there was something familiar about her. She told me her first name….and I knew immediately who she was! As a youth she had been at extreme risk, deeply involved in vandalism on the transit system, and a prolific graffiti tagger whose graffiti was featured in the news, along with many other challenges.

I gave her a hug and said with tears in my eyes, “You Made It!”

She looked at me and said, “You and [a VPD Sergeant] saved my life!”

I had often wondered how her life had turned out. I told her that her success made my work worthwhile. To have someone who was so at risk overcome so many challenges and see the success that she had achieved filled me with gratitude and pride.

Q: Have you learned any important life lessons on the job?

  • The most integral qualities for this career are work ethic and integrity.
  • I never forgot where I have come from. Humility is a wonderful trait.
  • Everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Whether they continue to get my respect is up to them…. not me!
  • Never underestimate the power of a smile.

Q: If you won a free vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: I would love to go to Hawaii in July 2019 with my husband and renew our vows on our 40th wedding anniversary.

Q: What book, movie and TV show would you recommend?

A: Book: The Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement Officers
Movie: A tie between “Shrek” and “The Man Who Would Be King”
TV Show: Little Britain

Q: Any final thoughts?

A: I reflect on my career with great joy and pride. I am so grateful for the relationships I have made and the reputation that I have earned. I am proud of our department and the success that we have seen and to recognize that I was one of the pioneers and ground breakers. It has been a great ride.

Sgt. Wendy Hawthorne c. 1986

MVTP Constable Miles Teitelbaum looks forward to seeing you in North Vancouver this summer

Written by Cst. Miles Teitelbaum, NPO for South Vancouver and Richmond, and participant in the Lower Lonsdale Community Patrol Partnership

I recently took on the role of Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, joining the program on temporary assignment in order to assist Cst. Bruce Shipley in the area of South Vancouver and Richmond, as well as support a new project in North Vancouver over the summer. Currently, Cst. Shipley is assisting vulnerable persons who use the transit system, keeping them safe. Prior to taking on the NPO assignment, I was a patrol officer on the west side for nine years.

One of the things I enjoy most about my current role is participating in the Lower Lonsdale (LoLo) Project. The program was launched thanks to the hard work of a fellow NPO, Cst. Kirk Rattray, and the pilot project brings together Transit Police NPOs and officers from the North Vancouver RCMP, who jointly patrol the Lower Lonsdale Quay neighbourhood. Each Friday and Saturday afternoon and evening this summer, you can find our team conducting beat-style policing, to make sure that everyone is enjoying the many vendors and businesses in the area in a safe manner. We engage with the public as we patrol, answering questions, giving safety tips and letting people know how Transit Police and the RCMP are working together to provide important safety reassurance to all attendees. During our shift, we make sure to stop by the SeaBus and patrol the nearby Phibbs Exchange bus loop, making ourselves available to both the public and transit employees for anything they might need.

The Lower Lonsdale area is always busy, and sometimes people get separated from their group. A really rewarding part of working on the Lolo Project is when I get to help reunite people who are lost from their family. I also enjoy it when people take the time to thank or acknowledge us for our service. It’s gratifying to see a small child’s face light up when they get a Transit Police or RCMP sticker.

Follow Cst. Teitelbaum on Instagram

Metro Vancouver Transit Police Bike At Work!

It’s Bike to Work Week but did you know Metro Vancouver Transit Police Officers also conduct patrols using bikes at work? In 2017, Transit Police launched a Bike Program pilot project following an invitation to participate in cycle training with The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Bike Team.

Building partnerships with local jurisdictional police is integral to our Neighbourhood Police Officer (NPO) Team and training together for a full week created strong and lasting relationships. However, the project’s main goal is to increase high police visibility in the Community Service Areas, defined in our Service Delivery Model.

What is Transit Police hoping to achieve?

Adding bike patrols into Transit Police’s regular ‘on the beat’ patrol schedule supports the objectives of the Transit Police Strategic Plan, including:

  • Reduce Crime and Disorder
  • Improve Feeling of Safety for Transit Customers and Staff
  • Improve Understanding of Needs of Transit Customers and Staff in Order to Care for and Keep Them Safe
  • Protect and Assist Vulnerable Persons
  • Engage in Innovative and Efficient Methods to Anticipate Transit Growth, Social Change and Regional Community Safety Issues

Becoming more mobile has enabled our police officers to patrol to a greater extent in the surrounding areas of SkyTrain Stations and Bus loops. This has increased police presence, given our officers greater opportunities to interact with the public and also improve community partnerships with local businesses.

Riding bikes in their CSA will also help the NPOs build on their connection with Transit Operators and the Transit Security Bike Patrol team.

By the end of the summer, a total of seven Transit Police Officers are set to be cycle trained.

Learn more about the Transit Police Bike Program this Friday

This Friday, June 1, NPO Cst. Julien Ponsioen will be at Robson Square from 3pm to 6pm. Stop by to register your bike with 529 Garage for free and let your child ride a Transit Police bike.

Our partners at 529 Garage allow you to register your bike along with thousands of fellow cyclists who can keep a watchful eye on your bike if you do experience a theft.

Children will also have the opportunity to ride a Transit Police bicycle (with flashing lights!) through a course that will give them a taste of the training our officers go through. So bring your child down to become a certified junior bicycle officer.

Follow Cst. Julien Ponsioen on Twitter

Follow Cst. Bruce Shipley on Twitter

Transit Police invites you to take part in the 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Join us for the 5th annual Metro Vancouver Transit Police Charity Golf Tournament in support of Special Olympics BC athletes. Enjoy a day of golf, while helping to create a world of inclusion where every person is accepted regardless of ability.

Your $125 registration fee includes lunch and a banquet dinner featuring a silent auction, raffles and prizes.

To find out more about Special Olympics visit  www.specialolympics.bc.ca

For more information and to register, email  Jaemie.Valenzuela@transitpolice.bc.ca