Denver RTD Transit Police Department to begin 24/7 staffing May 5

April 23, 2024
The additional officers will help Denver RTD’s Transit PD proactively address other problems on bus and rail vehicles, as well as situations at stops and stations around the district.

The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) Transit Police Department (PD) is moving to a 24/7 staffing model starting May 5. Overnight coverage will enhance the personal safety and security of Denver RTD’s frontline employees and customers, including those who use the agency’s transit services outside of regular business hours. 

“The introduction of an overnight team has been a priority for Denver RTD Transit PD and it was always contingent upon our hiring success,” said Dr. Joel Fitzgerald Sr., Denver RTD’s chief of police and emergency management. “We needed enough staff to begin to provide the high-performance service our stakeholders expect. As we continue to grow, you’ll see us even more.” 

The department currently has 61 Colorado Peace Officers Standards and Training-certified officers. An additional 19 recruits are in the police academy and will graduate in May. Another 26 recruits are projected to attend the academy in July. The agency plans to grow to a minimum of 119 officers by the end of 2024 as part of its efforts to create a welcoming transit environment across the district’s entire service area. Denver RTD provides bus, rail and paratransit services in a 2,342-square-mile area that spans all or part of eight counties and 40 municipalities. In 2023, Denver RTD had approximately 65 million customer boardings. 

“Being able to respond to more calls for service and process more of our own arrests makes us a force multiplier for other law enforcement agencies,” Fitzgerald said. “This means that Denver RTD will always be a priority and our department is viewed as a better partner. All members of the Denver RTD Transit PD team will do everything in our power to ensure that customers and employees are safe on the Denver RTD system.” 

The overnight team will focus on areas in need of greater safety efforts for bus and rail operators, such as when employees begin their morning shifts at Denver Union Station. As Denver RTD Transit PD continues to grow, the additional officers will help the department proactively address other problems on bus and rail vehicles, as well as situations at stops and stations around the district. 

“We know that problems can occur at any time so this is another step toward meeting the goal of a creating a welcoming transit environment 24/7, 365 days a year,” said Denver RTD Deputy Chief Glyn Horn, who added that an overnight presence will enhance the safety of Denver RTD’s employees who work late and overnight shifts. “We will do everything possible to ensure our employees are safe in the work environment. We are one Denver RTD.” 

In August 2022, the agency had 19 sworn officers and relied heavily on contracted security. Since that time, Denver RTD has grown and focused its efforts and resources on building its own force. The move not only supports the personal safety, security and well-being of Denver RTD’s employees and customers, but it also allows for evidence-based policing and the strategic deployment of officers to problematic areas. 

Denver RTD also plans to add community outreach staff, staffing six mental health clinicians and five homeless outreach coordinators by the end of 2024 to work alongside Transit Police officers. The outreach program has fostered agency relationships to increase customer access to resources in the Denver RTD service area while helping to keep transit services running smoothly.