OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Bay Area Rapid Transit will soon begin major upgrades to its police communications center and computer systems so that central command can respond more rapidly to crimes and disturbances, transit officials said.
Over the next two years, BART police units will be equipped with GPS systems, and alarms at critical access points will be linked to security cameras, giving central command a real time snapshot of security throughout the transit system.
KCBS' Jeffrey Schaub Reports:
BART To Upgrade Communications Center To Protect Against Terrorism
"Abroad, transportation systems are a huge, huge target for terrorists, and so we have to be on constant watch, constant vigil to make sure that nothing takes place," said BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey.
About two-thirds of the $3.1 million the BART board of directors voted Thursday to spend on the security systems comes from US Dept. of Homeland Security grants and other state funding.
BART directors this week also approved a $2.7 million contract to buy 100 wireless communications devices. Once installed on railcars, they can stream live video to BART security and control centers.
They'll also improve Wi-Fi service for riders.
Forty-four of BART's nearly 700 cars already have similar devices.
BART will also adopt a system for better tracking of crime statistics at stations, on trains and in parking lots so that command staff can spot trends and better deploy officers to problem areas.
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